There is a Pollyanna mindset in those whose destroyed journalism. Some way, somehow, they think the mess will clean up itself. It’s a mindset from those who grew up sheltered with parents who often have clout as their offspring seek attention and have their sunny dispositions shaped by weed. Journalism is not a profession where being mellow is an asset. You have cutthroats and grifters who know how to manipulate optics — and even data to paint an inaccurate picture of what is really happening.
Of course, not everyone in the business came from privilege, but enough to see what happens when you have not faced consequences in the eye, let alone stared death in the face.
It is not as if things may look bad, but something will save the day. It’s unfixable in its current form.
Both Torstar and Postmedia are the subjects of a Competition Bureau probe, but so what? They did what they said they’d do — close down newspapers. The end.
It is not as if these were thriving newspapers. They were closed because they weren’t. They went past the point of no return.
But you still have reporters believing they can somehow trick people into saving them with ridiculous optimistic campaigns, such as Journalism Matters.
Always begging for money, of course.
Even if reporters pretend to be pessimistic as they “question” those assertions, they will pin the blame on factors unrelated to the heart of their problems, such as newsrooms being too white and male, before trying to find a saviour, such as “data journalism.”
The critical problem isn’t that journalism is “white” and “male.” It doesn’t matter what the packaging happens to be — the same mindset is prevalent in the entire profession. No one has made a single fundamental change.
And data journalism? As if companies can’t fudge data or authorities cannot get it wrong — or keep information back? As if there aren’t flawed measurements? You never heard that figures can’t lie, but liars can figure?
Because journalism’s collapse is global in scale.
It isn’t just a thing that happened in just North America, the self-proclaimed centre of the universe, where ex-reporters of the Denver Post are sobbing a little too late. Other races and cultures made the same mess of things, too.
We have people from every other country questioning the way journalism is doing its job, such as this sharp column from Pakistan’s Daily Times.
But you have CNN’s Chris Cillizza in La La Land, with “analysis” that is nothing more than childish conjecture about Donald Trump being some sort of real life “reality show” (memo to Cillizza, do you actually comprehend that all major newsmakers could say the same thing as their lives were always under the media microscope?), as if journalism could have any virtuous airs about them.
At least former CNN Soledad O’Brien called out Cillizza for his devoid analysis, rightfully pointing out that it is that kind of worthless junk that turned millions of people away from traditional journalism, though Cillizza was too thick to get it.
So is there hope for a dead profession?
But journalism can be replaced with an alternative that has far more than hope — but the power to transform and engage the world again…