There’s been a lot of reporting about the media’s “epic fail” in the recent election, and one of the most insightful articles is by The Bureau of Investigative Journalism:
One of the most egregious failings of the media in the US election was their chase of audience share at the expense of substantial reporting. Struggling with ever-declining advertising revenues, newspapers chased the stories that brought them the clicks.
At the heart of divided societies in both the US and Britain is a newspaper industry in precipitous decline. The true “epic fail” is of the journalism industry as a whole: that the sector has been unable to find an alternative commercial model to the one that has sustained it for so long. As print readers migrate online, few newspapers have been able to persuade them to continue contributing to the cost of producing news; and neither have they been able to convince advertisers that their online versions are as worthy of investment as their print products.
The article also referenced the shocking reduction in journalists in the U.S. As reported in The Guardian, the number of people employed in the US newspaper industry has fallen by almost 60% since the dawn of the internet age – from nearly 458,000 in 1990 to about 183,000 in 2016. This loss has been felt most seriously among regional papers which have either cut their newsrooms back to the bone or shut down altogether.
Major media platforms did fly their own journalists around the country to interview supporters at Trump rallies, but these reporters “rarely got out of the campaign bubbles. They had not lived among the many communities that voted for Trump” the way local journalists had–before their jobs went away.
Based in London, the Bureau of Investigative Journalism understands the important role investigative journalism must play in the years to come. “Now more than ever, we need strong, independent, fearless and deep reporting that holds power to account. We need journalists who have the time and the resources to properly investigate the stories that matter.”
It’s now more urgent than ever that we support the legitimate sources that provide our news. Those journalists can’t work for free.
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