MTV News website becomes the latest casualty of our Digital Dark Age

Bad job, Internet: The web gets a little smaller as two decades of culture reporting and criticism disappear in a flash

MTV News website becomes the latest casualty of our Digital Dark Age
John Norris for MTV News
Photo: Evan Agostini

It’s not your imagination. Google is getting worse, and it’s not just because they’re infecting its own product with consumer-averse A.I. slop and pages of worthless ads. It’s also a product of private equity, seeing the writing on the wall and desperately wanting to erase it. Since MTV News shuttered last year, it was by the divine mercy of their corporate owners that some two decades of culture reporting would at least be accessible on the MTV News website. Alas, it’s the latest to be flattened into a digital vacant lot.

MTV News folded in May last year when Paramount laid off 25% of its staff in a “very hard but necessary decision,” said Paramount CEO Chris McCarthy, who netted a $2.75 million bonus last week despite Paramount’s crumbling. Now, it’ll be like their work never existed.

MTV News’ website is no more. It has ceased to exist, and along with it, 20 years of culture writing and reporting have been wiped from the record in a flash. When one goes to, all they will find is MTV’s splash page advertising yet another chapter in the Teen Mom saga. So anyone looking to research how MTV covered the post-9/11 pop culture landscape sans social media manner is S.O.L. We all are. Basically, until society accepts that journalism isn’t much of a moneymaker and stops trying to milk it for cheap clicks, we’re going to keep seeing elements of our recent history pulled down and destroyed. Soon, all that will remain are remembrances on the Way Back Machine and what’s available when we add “” to search queries.

As screenwriter, author, and former Buzzfeed writer Alanna Bennett wrote on Twitter, “Archives should never disappear. Full-stop. This is what they mean when they say we’re in a digital dark age. There will be no evidence of the incredible cultural journalism that so many people contributed to. If this happens with BuzzFeed News…I STG.”

She’s right. The closing of MTV News is another piece of our encroaching digital dark age. As Apple and Meta’s walled gardens expand, Twitter prices out data researchers (not to mention Elon Musk’s litigiousness), and Google relies on plagiarism engines to satisfy its bots’ needs, the internet is slowly outgrowing its usefulness. Future generations will find the last 15 years challenging to understand. Thankfully, nothing of note occurred.

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