Journalism never truly developed into a well-piled machine. It has always reacted to its environment in a hap-hard way, and journalists often use their own stagnation to spin a narrative of how they are fighting hard and being oppressed.
The Toronto Star has an article with that kind of narrative, and it is unfortunate. The tale of a court reporter who never got to see a court file because she was “stymied” isn’t newsworthy because the mean old Establishment wouldn’t give her what she wanted — it is newsworthy because the profession never lobbied or created system where this problem would be addressed so it was no longer a problem.
Sooner or later, you have to see there is a need for some sort of system for gaining access to basic information. You have police exploit the media when they are looking for someone, but the second they get what they want, they put up a wall. You would think the profession would negotiate with the Establishment: no, we are not going to publicize anything for you — what’s in it for us?
The press often cosies up to the Establishment, printing their decreed without a hint of skepticism or challenge. The Establishment institutions can then set the terms of debate, and that makes an outlet an arm of the government, not an independent entity.
There shouldn’t be this kind of tug-of-war in 2018. The press has placated the middle class and assured them that everything will work out fine, and so, an article like this one isn’t going to do anything for the fortunes of journalism.
It’s not a noble thing to be going in circles for decades. Sooner or later, you have to realize you need some arm in an industry that pushes for openness — and it can be done with people who don’t report the facts. The profession never truly had it, and that’s why they keep going in circles and never progressing at all…