Journalism is in the midst of an existential crisis: the profession has undergone decades of declines in readership, revenue and public trust, with no obvious end in sight. Many in the industry believe that the best way for newsrooms to recover both revenue and public trust is to improve their relationship with their audiences. News organizations once boasted huge profit margins, which left many feeling confident that they knew exactly what they needed to do in order to reach the public. As a result, journalists rarely sought feedback from their readers.
In the late 19th century, Henry W. Grady, one of the South’s most prominent editors, worked closely with powerful political and business interests to build a white supremacist political economy and social order across Georgia – and the entire South – that lasted well into the 20th century. One of his primary tools was his newspaper, The Atlanta Constitution – which merged with The Atlanta Journal in 2001 to become The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Eavesdropping on someone else’s conversation is considered rude in polite circles. But if you are a journalist it may well result in the kind of scoop ITV News reporter Angus Walker recently chanced upon in a hotel when he overheard remarks made by the government’s chief Brexit adviser, Olly Robbins.
Local newspapers are not doing as well. The past decade was brutal for the local press, and the numbers behind the collapse of local newspapers are staggering.
New digital technologies such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and WhatsApp have significantly shaped news production, distribution and consumption practices around the world. This has led to changes in the ways in which news is gathered by citizens and professional journalists as well as the ways in which it’s consumed.
Journalist Jamal Khashoggi was brutally murdered by an alleged Saudi “hit squad” whose members have close ties to Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman. I believe that despite massive amounts of press attention, two important and related elements of Khashoggi’s murder remain underexamined. First is the fact that his murder allegedly took place within a consulate or embassy, a global borderland. Second is the fact that his alleged murderers included people traveling on diplomatic passports, who were not entirely subject to the laws of the state – Turkey – they were visiting.
At a time when we notice increasing and alarming threats to media freedom around the world, World Press Freedom Day (WPFD) is more pertinent today than ever before. We therefore can’t afford to celebrate this important day without both considering the damage done to the free press over the past year and intensifying our efforts to protect journalists and the future of journalism around the world.
A series of memoirs are appearing for Christmas – by Mike Carlton, Kerry O’Brien and the like – as the baby boomer generation of journalists gets some quality time to reflect, laugh, and reveal some new secrets. As the receiver of a cheapo massive cardboard screed in 1972 for “investigative journalism” from my colleagues in the ABC’s This Day Tonight, my recollection was that “investigative journalism” was a cool, new genre any young journo wanted to be associated with.
As mainstream media increasingly turn their gaze from places far away toward internal issues, it is freelancers who take up the mantle of “guardians” of the truth. Without them, our view of the world dims.
The vast majority of the $469.5 million that 60 digital nonprofit news media websites raised between 2009 and 2015 supported the 20 biggest outlets as the 20 smallest eked by on just $8.6 million.