Journalism problems: delegitimizing media and a paucity of participation

Jay Rosen's latest list of his journalism challenges is particularly thought-provoking right now.

Adam Tinworth
Adam Tinworth

Jay Rosen's periodic list of his top journalism problems is particularly interesting in its latest edition. Two jumped out at me:

3. With his hate campaign against journalists, Trump has been successful in isolating about a third of the electorate in an information loop of its own. These are people beyond the reach of journalism, immune to its discoveries. Trump is their primary source of information about Trump. The existence of a group this size shows that de-legitimizing the news media works. The fact that it works means we will probably see more of it.

I see signs of this in the pro-Brexit movement in the UK. They talk about the "Brussels Broadcasting Corporation", for example. Everyone in the journalism business should be watching this โ€” and thinking how to counter it.

7. Membership models in news need to be participatory to work, but weโ€™re falling behind in our understanding of how to make that happen. With ad-supported media, we know what the social contract is. We know how it works with subscription, as well. For membership, we do not yet know what that contract is.

While this is true, and the recent hoo-ha about The Correspondent's New York (non) newsroom illustrates it nicely, I think there's plenty to learn from niche media, especially B2B, here, as they've always had a much closer relationship with their readers than the national newspapers have.

donald trumpmedia deligitimizationaudience engagement

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Adam is a lecturer, trainer and writer. He's been a blogger for over 20 years, and a journalist for more than 30. He lectures on audience strategy and engagement at City, University of London.