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Journalism and the Crisis of Democracy

Program #MCCR008. Recorded in Portland, OR on February 26, 2009.

Stop the presses! Breaking News! Journalism is dying! The terms seismic shifts and tectonic plates moving are overused but they certainly apply to journalism today. The venerable fourth estate is an endangered species. Newspapers, like the Rocky Mountain News in Denver, which was around for 150 years, have closed. Many others are threatened. Foreign reporting, never a strong suit, is getting worse. Bureaus are being cut back or eliminated. The demise of journalism, particularly investigative journalism, would have major implications for the functioning of our increasingly parlous democracy. If politicians and corporations, bankers and financiers know that there is no one looking at and reporting on what they are doing then corruption, which already exists, will increase exponentially. The masters will go unchallenged. Unless a new economic model emerges, print journalism as we've known it, will cease to exist.


Robert McChesney

Robert McChesney teaches at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is the author of many books including Digital Disconnect. He is co-author with John Nichols of Dollarocracy. He is the co-founder of Free Press, a national media reform organization. The Utne Reader listed him among its “50 visionaries who are changing the world.”

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