Is Journalism Crumbling?

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It’s hard to summarize Pulitzer Prize-winner and Mother Jones contributor David Cay Johnston’s report on the state of journalism, so you should just go read it. But it’s clear the situation is grim: stenography journalism is cheap and easy, while real investigative work is expensive and hard. With the industry in turmoil in the wake of massive economic and technological disruptions, less actual investigative work—less actual reporting—gets done each year. Johnston does a great job of diagnosing and explaining the problem (I’d also recommend Dean Starkman’s Columbia Journalism Review piece on the “hamster wheel“). But the most depressing part of the piece is that no one knows how to fix the problems that Johnston identifies. There’s no end in sight.

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We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

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