Florida Atlantic University Journalism Symposium: The Future of News January 10, 2020 Keynote speaker: Bonnie Gross, Adjunct professor of journalism at FAU 35-year journalism career, including 15 years as a manager in online division of Sun-Sentinel. Graduate Medill School of Journalism, Northwestern University
Accountability journalism Newspapers are responsible for most local journalism, particularly “accountability journalism.” “ Accountability journalism” is the sort of serious investigative journalism that prevents corruption and keeps the powerful in check. It is a phrase coined by Clay Shirky, an associate teacher at New York University's (NYU) graduate Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP)
Accountability journalism Examples: – Most famously: Two Washington Post reporters who uncovered that the President Nixon was involved in covering up a burglary at the Democratic National Committee offices. – Reporting by the Boston Globe to expose abuse by Catholic priests under the leadership of Cardinal Law. Can you name other examples?
Everybody gets news from newspapers Even if they don’t read them! The work of print journalists is used by everyone from politicians to district attorneys to bloggers to TV and radio stations. TV, radio and the Associated Press all use local newspaper reports as &quot;tip sheets&quot; for covering their communities.
What happened to newspapers? Financially, they are in big trouble because ad revenues have dropped Traditional advertisers – department stores, for example – are struggling. Classified ads -- once the most profitable – have gone to the Internet
The revenues peaked in 1999, recovered slightly in 2004, and then plummeted after 2005.
Use of online classifieds sites doubled between 2005 and 2009. Sites like Craiglist, eBay and Amazon went from having a little use – only 22% had ever used them in 2005 – to mainstream – 49% of people had used them in 2009.
The business changed dramatically Newspapers were, essentially, monopolies. They could charge a lot for a little classified ad. Now those ads are free and all that money went away. But, wait, aren’t there online ads? Yes, but they earn dimes compared to dollars in the old day. Rates are very low.
People stopped reading newspapers Newspaper readership has been slowly dropping for decades. The decline started with TV news – not the Internet. Now, as a percentage of the population, newspapers have about half as many subscribers as they did four decades ago.
March, 2009 study from Pew Research Center 8/16/10
Where do you get national/international news? TV: 66 % ( down from 74% in 2007 and 82% as recently as 2002.) Newspapers: 31% (down from 34% in 2007) Radio: 16% ‘ Internet’ in general: 41% ( up 17 points since 2007) Can you think of sources of news not mentioned here? Source: Pew Trust study: March, 2011
People will miss newspapers, right? Not so much. Fewer than half of Americans (43%) say that losing their local newspaper would hurt civic life in their community &quot;a lot.&quot; Even fewer (33%) say they would personally miss reading the local newspaper a lot.
Where does this lead? One view, from NYU’s Clay Shirky, who I quoted earlier on “accountability journalism”: Sometime soon, there will be big American cities with no local newspaper. Without watchdogs, government will sink into petty corruption. Even those cities with newspapers will see a dramatic reduction in coverage. This will hurt good governance, possibly democracy.
Society doesn’t need newspapers . What we need is journalism.
What is replacing newspapers and TV? News reported by those who experience and observe it –- Facebook and Twitter. Blogs of all types – professional, amateur, in-between. Independednt websites devoted to local news, some of it watchdog and investigative. News supported by foundations and nonprofits. And news forms we don’t yet know. 8/16/10