The federal government’s recent announcement of financial support for news organizations has been met with understandably wide-ranging reactions — from relief to skepticism, and worse. Among other measures, the package will incentivize consumers to sign up for digital news subscriptions and subsidize publishers through a tax credit on salaries paid to journalists. It’s good news for imperilled news businesses, but even some who share the government’s expressed concern over the sustainability of independent information about public affairs have expressed misgivings. The doubters include many journalists — the very people who stand most to gain from the promised support.
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.
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.