• Revision ID 78210 REVISION
  • 2018-07-11 18:10:08
  • by Kat O'Neal (talk | contribs)
  • Note: Fleshing out story, more precise language, will be adding sources in next edit
Title Title
Investigative Reporting at Low in United States Investigative and local reporting in decline in U.S.
Summary Summary
A lack of local investigative reporting is associated with several negative consequences for residents.  A lack of local investigative reporting is associated with negative consequences for residents
Highlights Highlights
Content Content
  <strong>The number of daily newspapers circulating in the United States has been declining since the early 2000s, according to the<a href="http://www.journalism.org/fact-sheet/newspapers/"> Pew Research Center,</a> and is currently at its lowest levels since the 1940s. After analyzing the <a href="https://www.bls.gov/oes/">"Occupational Employment Statistics"</a> reports by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Pew Research found that the number of employees from the newspaper sector is 45 percent lower than it was in 2004.</strong>
As more and more newsrooms downsize or close their doors due to lack of profitability, the number of local reporters in the United States may be at a decades-long low. Research is beginning to indicate that a lack of local investigative reporting is associated with negative consequences for nearby residents.  As more and more newsrooms downsize or close their doors due to lack of profitability, the amount of local independent reporting may be at its lowest point in years. Research indicates that a lack of local news sources may be associated with negative consequences for the public.
  In areas where local news sources have gone out of business, there’s evidence that <a href="https://reutersinstitute.politics.ox.ac.uk/sites/default/files/2017-12/Local%20Journalism%20-%20the%20decline%20of%20newspapers%20and%20the%20rise%20of%20digital%20media.pdf">local governments become less efficient</a> and waste more tax dollars. Reporting on local issues regularly exposes <a href="http://www.pulitzer.org/finalists/michael-schwirtz-michael-winerip-and-robert-gebeloff">racial injustices</a>, <a href="http://www.pulitzer.org/winners/staff-cincinnati-enquirer">local health concerns</a>, <a href="http://www.pulitzer.org/finalists/jason-grotto-sandhya-kambhampati-and-ray-long-chicago-tribune-and-propublica-illinois">systematic discrimination</a>, and <a href="http://www.pulitzer.org/winners/salt-lake-tribune-staff">abuse</a>, including by <a href="https://www.spj.org/news.asp?ref=1524">officials</a>, <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/post-series-on-police-shootings-wins-pulitzer-prize-for-national-reporting/2016/04/18/a9eeeda2-055d-11e6-b283-e79d81c63c1b_story.html?noredirect=on&amp;utm_term=.0c149d0022cd">regional law enforcement</a> and <a href="http://www.pulitzer.org/winners/michael-laforgia-cara-fitzpatrick-and-lisa-gartner">schools</a>.
  [contribute-c2a text="Something missing from the story? Say so" buttons="talk"]
  In 2000, journalism professor James W. Carey <a href="http://niemanreports.org/articles/journalism-and-democracy-are-names-for-the-same-thing/">wrote</a> that "Journalism and democracy are names for the same thing." In his book, <em>Rich Media, Poor Democracy</em>, Carey said that good investigative stories were being drowned out by "trivial and inconsequential" stories and that journalists were less free than they used to be, putting democracy under threat. Around this time, newspaper circulation and revenue was already beginning to decline.
  By the time comedian John Oliver <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2016/aug/08/john-oliver-journalism-hbo-last-week-tonight-newspapers">released a TV special</a> about the current poor state of journalism in the midst of the 2016 presidential election, local independent reporting had dramatically declined due to reduced ad revenue and huge overall reductions in paid subscriptions. Although there had been significant increases in the number of people who get their news online, these readers typically expect to receive their news for free. Oliver's special showed how financially struggling newspapers often move resources away from time-consuming investigative stories to focus on increasing ad revenue by providing a high volume of stories that get a lot of user engagement, regardless of newsworthiness. Oliver urged people to subscribe to newspapers which conduct investigative journalism.
  While newspapers are experiencing financial woes, reporters are experiencing worse conditions at work. The <a href="https://www.aim.org/don-irvine-blog/the-biggest-loser-newspaper-reporter-ranked-as-worst-job-in-america-for-third-year-in-a-row/">2017 CareerCast Jobs Rated Report</a>, which has been published yearly since 1988, ranked "newspaper reporter" as being the worst job in the U.S. for the third year in a row, out of 200 jobs that get ranked on criteria such as income, environmental factors, outlook, physical demands, and stress.
In areas where local news sources have gone out of business, there’s evidence that local governments become less efficient, waste more tax dollars, and officials who abuse their power for personal gain are more likely to escape consequences. Investigative reporting also regularly identifies problems in the local law enforcement and school systems, for example identifying infrastructure problems and pointing out corrupt or abusive employees and policies. Nearby residents are also affected. <a href="https://www.jstor.org/stable/23016844">Two economists from the University of Goettingen in Germany</a> compared government efficiency data against the presence of 150 newspapers in Norway. They concluded that local newspapers are associated with a lower cost per capita for public services such as education and healthcare. The authors said the results suggested that "a more informed electorate provides incentives for incumbent politicians to behave well" and "a larger share of informed voters goes with larger efficiency."
ADD MORE CONTEXT. Significance of the story, why the story matters, what impact it has, what’s at stake, who’s affected, is this a one-off event or part of something bigger?  
<li>How many news sources in the U.S. have closed over what period of time? How many have opened?</li>  
<li>Why is this happening? Lack of profitability (include sources and links to research)</li>  
<li>What are the associated effects? What research is there on the topic? What do experts say? Mention John Oliver special.</li> [contribute-c2a text="You can edit or expand this story" buttons="edit"]
<li>Examples of local investigative reporting that bucks the trend: L.A. Taco (which recently converted from a culture magazine to a news source), Voice of San Diego (many examples of investigative reporting on jail practices, school districts, abusive officials, teacher misconduct and more, often conducted by just one or two people), high school and college reporters, etc.</li>  
  With global press freedom at its <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/media/2017/nov/30/press-freedom-at-all-time-low-journalist-safety-article-19-v-dem-study">worst levels in years</a>, and the rise of <a href="https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/03/180312095504.htm">fake news</a>, what alternatives are there to traditional news sources?
  There recently have been some publications which have switched their business model to a news source from something else. For example, the publication<em> L.A. Taco</em> served the Los Angeles community since 2006, hosting a taco festival every year, and regularly posting photos and stories online about the city’s tacos and street art. The focus of the publication changed when Daniel Hernandez (who has previously worked for <em>LA Weekly</em>, <em>Los Angeles Times</em>, and <em>Vice</em>) <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/10/us/california-today-la-taco.html">took over as the lead editor of <em>L.A. Taco</em></a> in the first part of 2018. The publication's focus is now reporting news.
  Another relatively recent source of news is the reporting done by non-profit organizations. Wikitribune, which is a non-profit news source launched in 2017 that allows users to edit and contribute to news stories, was a relative latecomer. ProPublica is a non-profit founded in 2007 with the <a href="https://www.propublica.org/about/">mission</a> to use investigative journalism to "expose abuses of power and betrayals of the public trust by government, business, and other institutions." In 2010, they <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/richard-adams-blog/2011/apr/18/pulitzer-prize-winners-propublica">became the first online-only news source to win a Pulitzer Prize</a> for Investigative Reporting, and have since won three more Pulitzer Prizes in 2011, 2016 and 2017.
  Other non-profit news sites have become serious alternatives to local newspapers, such as <a href="https://www.minnpost.com/">MinnPost</a> (which serves Minneapolis-St. Paul), <a href="https://www.voiceofsandiego.org/account/donation-history/">Voice of San Diego</a>, and the <a href="https://www.newhavenindependent.org/">New Haven Independent</a>. For example, the Voice of San Diego has been acclaimed for publishing investigative reporting on the high number of <a href="https://www.voiceofsandiego.org/topics/opinion/the-countys-outrageous-targeting-of-reporter-who-exposed-jail-deaths/">local inmate suicides</a>, how <a href="https://timesofsandiego.com/business/2016/06/12/marketink-taxpayers-association-honors-media-for-watchdog-efforts/">tax dollars are being spent</a> against the will of voters, <a href="https://www.voiceofsandiego.org/topics/education/untold-story-behind-sweetwater-schools-scandal/">school district scandals</a>, ongoing <a href="http://www.kpbs.org/news/2018/may/22/voice-san-diego-pushes-make-school-sexual-miscondu/">teacher sexual misconduct</a> and more, with research often conducted by just a few people.
  It is clear that the news industry is changing, and many signs point to a decline in journalism. What does that mean for the future? Many dedicated people are <a href="https://www.wired.com/2017/03/fixing-fake-news-wont-fix-journalism/">fighting fake news</a> and <a href="http://www.niemanlab.org/2018/07/54-newsrooms-9-countries-and-9-core-ideas-heres-what-two-researchers-found-in-a-yearlong-quest-for-journalism-innovation/">identifying ways</a> to make news more engaging, cooperative and community-oriented.
Categories Categories
United States  General, Media, United States, United States
Article type Article type
Tags Tags
  General, Journalism, Media, News, United States
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