This is an existential question when you are the front page or homepage editor of a newspaper, and the answer is, it depends. Take a look at the front pages above from four newspapers in New York City on Feb. 21, 2020. They all have different lead stories but some overlapping ones as well.
That’s the question dominating the airwaves, podcasts, and headlines, and one we should all be asking in light of the local news crisis I wrote about in my last post. The good news is that the conversation has started, and people are beginning to realize that they need local news to be active and informed members of their communities.
Your question could not be more timely: McClatchy, the nation’s second-largest newspaper chain that operates The Miami Herald and The Sacramento Bee, filed for bankruptcy on Feb. 13, 2020. And that’s just the latest development in the local news crisis.
To start, the word “appease” may be too strong in this context. But that doesn’t mean that, sometimes, in the real world, the wall between corporate interests and journalistic independence can be compromised.
You’re right that there is quite a high bar in the United States for public figures to prove libel, which is essentially a false statement that harms a person’s reputation. The First Amendment and the U.S. Constitution provide some of the most robust legal protections in the world for journalists and the freedom of speech. And that’s by design.
If you can control what people know, then you can control what they think.
It’s true—in this age of Facebook and Twitter, just about anyone can share what they know. And thanks to the internet, that information travels at breakneck speed to potentially global audiences in a single keystroke, but that doesn’t make it journalism. In fact, this phenomenon reinforces why journalists need to distinguish themselves.
TV stations don’t spy on each other with secret cameras or listening devices — but they do keep close tabs on each other.
Surprisingly, yes. Last year, hackers managed to take over some verified accounts on Twitter and change the handle — but keep the blue checkmark.
Although some people view TV news anchors as just another pretty face reading the news off a teleprompter, they are real journalists. So if you want to be a news anchor, you’ll need the same skill set as any journalist–plus a few additional ones.