Sometimes people ask me how to save journalism.
I’m much more interested in saving journalists, not saving journalism; the individual is more meaningful, more evocative to me. (See also: “Journalism Will Survive The Death Of Its Institutions“).
So? How do you save a journalist? Incomplete list, pls add yours below:
- Give a journalist access to skills. I’m a big fan of ForJournalism, and of freely available educational resources on the Web. More access to skills, in more ways. (See also this post, a 14 minute talk to journalists on the three major technical skills that give the most “bang for the buck” journalistically speaking).
- Create more opportunities for journalists (and journalism-adjacent folk like myself) to gather and work together, in person or online. Hacks/Hackers is nice, but only in a handful of cities. ONA/NICAR/IRE are great — and once a year.
I think it’s true that what we give up on solving at a community or society level, we must solve individually. Consider, for example, how childcare in the US is framed as the work/life balance problem of individual women, rather than a community or society-wide issue of creating a society that supports parents and the children who will be the next generation of citizens. There are two society-wide proposals that I think would help journalists:
- Shed more light on the activities of private equity firms. Private equity firms have been buying and “flipping” media companies — and making millions at it. These mergers and acquisitions are often accompanied by punishing rounds of layoffs for ordinary people with a car payment, while millions that are being strip-mined from newsrooms. I’m looking at you, Audax, Halyard, et al.
- Support a strong social safety net, including access to affordable healthcare. Folks who lose their jobs often lose their health insurance. Freelance journalists often don’t have any. Of course this has an effect on what kind of journalism we have and how much of it we have.