Question Ioana Art, Media & Literature
To what extent is there a ‘crisis’ in contemporary journalism?
How to critically assess the extent to which there is a ‘crisis’ in contemporary journalism?
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Answer Expert #735
There has been extensive commentary on the emergence of a multifaceted crisis in journalism in recent years. For example, Almiron (2010) documents a physical decline in the field as a result of the collapse of media conglomerates in the wake of the 2008 global financial crisis whilst Simons (2011) points to the digital revolution as a force for the evolution of the role of journalists and a LSE (2015) article draws attention to the dynamics of news reporting, noting a distinct shift away from depth and detail as a direct result of the speed at which news events are now reported. This also raises the question of ethics, noting that the credibility of journalism has declined significantly as a result of incidents like the British phone hacking scandal (Fuller, 2010; Wyatt, 2014) The combination of factors here does suggest that the field of journalism is currently entrenched in a crisis that provides a broad indication of a shift towards the need for change if it is to emerge from it. However, there is a dissenting viewpoint that suggests that it is less a crisis and more an evolution of the field and its focus. Anderson (2012), for example, notes that there has been a severe decline in jobs in journalism but that the audience is larger as a result of the growth of digital media and that there is a need to take advantage of that. Whilst there is some merit to this perspective, there is a need to acknowledge that journalistic standards have been questioned and public confidence lost. As such, there is a journalistic crisis at the moment but to a slightly lesser extent than many critics suggest.
ReferencesAlmiron, N., (2010). Journalism in Crisis: Corporate Media and Financialization. London: Hampton Press.
Anderson, K., (2012). In Journalism in Crisis? Al Jazeera. [Online] Available at: http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2012/04/2012422134046353438.html [Accessed 18 July 2016].
Fuller, J., (2010). What Is Happening to News: The Information Explosion and the Crisis in Journalism. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
LSE, (2015). 2015: A Year of Crisis Journalism That is Reshaping the News. LSE. [Online] Available at: http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/polis/2015/12/30/2015-a-year-of-crisis-journalism-that-is-reshaping-news/ [Accessed 18 July 2016]
Simons, M., (2011). Journalism at the Crossroads. Brunswick: Scribe Publications.
Wyatt, W., (2014). Introduction. In W. Wyatt ed. The Ethics of Journalism: Individual, Institutional and Cultural Influences. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. xv-xxiv.