Hopes for journalism

Jay Rosen publishes a list of his “top problems” in journalism from time to time, and Jeff Jarvis has chipped in with his worries.

I encourage you to read both, and think of your own problems and worries (and there are plenty of both), but wanted to add my own list of hopes to supplement.

 

Good journalism stands out, creates public value, and is rewarded for it

… not everywhere, and not always as much as one would hope, but the fact that publisher after publisher, from local media group AMedia in Norway over digital-born sites like Mediapart in France and national titles like Dagens Nyheter in Sweden to international brands like the New York Times report that exclusive stories, well-reported investigations, and original angles are among the key drivers of loyalty and subscriptions gives me hope that good journalism and good business can go hand in hand.

 

The next generation of leaders in news are amazing and unafraid…

… they care about their mission and their profession, they are proud of journalism’s history but not stuck in its past, they actively want to change and to work with colleagues across editorial, product, and business because they know no one can do it alone. I can’t be a pessimist in a world with people like Melissa Bell, Peter Wolodarski, Niddal Salah-Eldin, Supriya Sharma, Gary Liu, Angela Pacienza, Alvin Ntibinyane, Hannah Suppa, and countless others like them leading the profession and the industry towards the future.

 

We can fight the tide of misinformation without sacrificing our liberties to censors or filters…

… as demonstrated by all those doing pioneering work rejecting both, on the one hand, the draconian measures pursued, sometimes deliberately and with open eyes, sometimes in good faith but poorly thought through, and, on the other hand, the unacceptable status quo daily further undermining trust in the institutions and infrastructures that enable free speech. Just look at the work of Claire Wardle, David Kaye, Joan Donovan, Will Moy, and their colleagues and counterparts.

 

The best journalism today is better than it has ever been…

… taking on everyone from the most powerful politicians to the biggest companies in the world, exposing them to public scrutiny, holding them to account for what they do. More broadly, at its best, journalism today is more accessible, more timely, more informative, more interactive, more engaged with its audience—and frankly less arrogant—than in the past. Every day the work of everyone from Julia Angwin, Hannah Dreier, and Marty Baron in the US to Carlos Chamorro in Nicaragua, Maria Ressa in the Philippines, and Siddharth Varadarajan in India and many more across the world fills me with hope for the future of journalism.

 

There is plenty to be worried about – the world is a worrying place – but this, the people mentioned, and many others like them I meet at the Reuters Institute and across the world, makes me hopeful. They are not flights of fancy, or a false balance to counter others’ problems and worries — they are reality-based grounds for conditional optimism.

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