From Democracy Digest
In countries where a free press was just beginning to emerge, a cocktail of rising authoritarianism, audience cannibalization by social media, and financial weakness has thrown it into reverse. Independent journalism is viable in some places, but not overall. Everywhere, the same question about the future of news crops up: How can democratic societies get the journalism they need in order to function? Jacob Weisberg asks in Foreign Affairs.
On the plus side, he notes, populists’ “noxious verbal assaults on news organizations have had the perverse effect of making audiences more willing to pay for journalism, even as those comments have contributed to greater peril for journalists facing less constrained autocrats elsewhere,” he writes in a review of three recent books on democracy and media:
It’s far too soon to say that the economic crisis of journalism has passed, let alone the crisis of truth. There still exists no replicable business model that works for local news, which has diminished the accountability of state and metropolitan government. What do seem to be working are a variety of nonprofit and hybrid models that fill specific gaps in coverage, including ProPublica (investigative reporting), the Marshall Project (criminal justice), and The Texas Tribune (state government and politics). What the most innovative journalistic organizations seem to have in common is some form of subsidy combined with an ability to think like for-profit businesses even if they really are not.
See full story here.