Corporate-funded journalism has decimated this country’s democracy. We do not have much time to solve it. Let’s get busy.
Journalism must be public
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- Only Public Funding Can Save Local Journalism and Thus Democracy: Under our plan—the foundation of the new Local Journalism Initiative—policymakers in Washington would provide a lump sum to every county in the nation annually based on the county’s population to pay for nonprofit journalism within that county. eaders of the Columbia Journalism Review are well aware of the importance of local news media; they have been the foundation of the American free press, and political democracy, since 1776. Daily newspapers have traditionally constituted the heart and soul of local news media, and they have provided the lion’s share of original reporting upon which all other news media depend. That remains the case in the digital era as much of newspapering has transitioned online. CJR readers are also aware that local journalism as it has been known for 200 years has all but disappeared in most places in the United States over the past two decades. The business model for commercial journalism, based on advertising providing most of the income, is dead. Thanks to the internet, it will never return. All efforts to find a viable new business model for local journalism have failed, and investors have abandoned the field, except for private-equity funds on the lookout for distressed properties they can strip for parts.
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