‘We are either going to have to pay for journalism or we are all going to pay for it.’
As John Oliver likes to remind us, he’s not a journalist. But he often does use the work of local journalists as an integral part of his segments, and as he puts it, the future of the industry looks bleak.
Adapting for online is a good thing, he says, but with print ad revenue down and digital revenue not worth as much papers have learned to adapt, reinvent themselves, and downsize. Some of them have gotten new owners who want to focus more on clicks, and in some cases, a paper has gotten into the hands of a compromising owner. But without journalists covering metro news, corruption in local politics could rise.
“And the truth is, a big part of the blame for the industry’s dire straits is on us and our unwillingness to pay for the work journalists produce. We’ve just grown accustomed to getting our news for free, and the longer that we get something for free, the less willing we are to pay for it,” he says.
To top it all off, he ends it with a depressingly accurate Spotlight parody that shows how in some places, the journalism that matters has more opposition against it than other famous stories—and that’s just in the newsroom.
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