There's a theory going around about the "democratization of the media." Now that it's so easy to set up a podcast/blog/forum, virtually anyone can start their own. So many blogs, so much worthless information. How do you sort out the good from the bad? Is traditional media going to still exist in 10 years? The internet has made newspapers largely irrelevant in my opinion. Why would I pay to have a dead tree delivered to my house, when I can get the same information on demand for free whenver I want? Not only that, but I don't have to spend time folding dirty newsprint over to make it readable.
Radio is the next victim. There's a big trend of people switching to satellite radio. I think this trend is going to die off like the dinosaurs, and here's why: As local area WiFi networks spread, pretty soon everyone will have high speed internet access anywhere they go. GPRS is already almost universal. Verizon is offering decently fast wireless for $60 a month. As the towers and capacity increases, it will eventually make cell phones and DSL irrelevant as well. Buy the fast internet service - use VoIP for phone calls, and listen to streaming internet radio. Or maybe your own MP3's right off your home computer - FROM ANYWHERE. I would never invest in Sirius or XM radio. Both are going to be gone in a matter of years. It's very expensive to use satellites, very cheap to use a small radio tower.
The next victim is TV. Tivo has already started the trend. People no longer think they have to watch shows in the format fed to them by the big media. Many people are downloading TV shows using bittorrent already. Apple and others are offering legitimate alternatives for a fair price.
I can see a day in the not so far future where you have a pocketsized device that handles most of your entertainment and communication needs. Watch your home movie collection, place a phone call to Tokyo, email a document to a business partner, and take a picture of a hot chick - all from the same device from a park bench.
Now back to the original question. If traditional media is unwilling to change, and there is no clear system of producing "professional" media, at what point will the noise overwhelm the signal?
New media websites such as drudgereport and slashdot already have a hugely powerful draw. But are they qualified? Google news presents a custom version of the news. But how do you know which sources are valid? Blogs are starting to be considered as "having value." At what point will you be unable to sift between them and a real well researched story?
Or could it be a good trend?