Back in '94 the media was in better shape and had more than enough resources to do it right, but they didn't.
No, it wasn't. The mid-1990s was pretty much the modern minimum for health of the US media; it was the end of decades of decline driven by corporate consolidation and cutting local resoures in traditional media, and before competing new media provided alternatives and spurred new efforts in traditional media.
Just going off my own recollection, it looks like broadcast has fragmented into a million irrelevant outposts, all racing each other to the bottom.
Print seems to be in even worse shape. In the southeast, almost every paper outside of the largest state metro has been shuttered and centralized into a state-wide newsroom running on a skeleton crew.
I don't know how those trajectories gets classified as improvements...