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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FACT:

Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and the wealthy wouldn't fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

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