What is the State of the Media in 2010?

A year ago, we were still building SaveTheNews.org, writing our first major report and holding early meetings with journalism leaders about the future of news and public policy. Our DC meeting included folks from the Pew Project for Excellence in Journalism, who gave us a brief snapshot of their 2009 State of the Media report. It was an optimistic presentation, emphasizing the dramatic growth in news readership and the exciting new online news ventures developing all over the country.

This year’s State of the Media report, released yesterday, paints a much different picture. The brief summary is that newsroom cuts and dwindling budgets are still wracking the news industry, and new business models and nonprofit journalism projects are not developing fast enough to fill in the gaps. While the report does not address public policy directly, there are a number of important findings that highlight how bad policies have undermined journalism, and suggest ways new policies could help meet the information needs of communities.

Below is a summary of a few of the key points that I am still mulling over. Continue reading

Celebrating the Life of C. Edwin Baker

We at SaveTheNews.org and Free Press learned today that the eminent communications law scholar C. Edwin Baker died this week at the age of 62. Baker was a passionate defender of the First Amendment and a longtime advocate for media and democracy.

Baker took part in the early planning meetings before SaveTheNews.org was launched, and his ideas have helped to shape much of our work. Robert McChesney and John Nichols, the co-founders of Free Press, offered remembrances of Baker. Continue reading

Is the Future of Journalism a Drought or a Flood?

Journalism students may be short on jobs, but they certainly aren’t lacking reading material about their industry. In the last twelve months, there have been a number of landmark essays on journalism written by academics and journalists. In addition, at least six major textbook-sized reports on the future of American media have been released, as well as innumerable lectures, conferences and roundtables on the topic.

The list of materials produced this year could easily make up a respectable “open-source” syllabus for the aspiring journalism innovator. But until a week or two ago, this makeshift seminar wouldn’t have been complete. Just when I thought little else could be written about the future of news, a coalition of independent media outlets – The Media Consortium – has released a remarkable new report that deserves a slot in your reading list. Continue reading