In 2021, a study titled “Saving journalism” was published by Anya Schiffrin, director and senior lecturer at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, which examined the state of journalism during the pandemic. This report is revisiting the topic to look at worldwide trends and to find out what strategies show promise in turning around the decline of media outlets and the loss of journalism jobs.
‘A year after publishing Saving journalism in 2021, we’ve gone back to see what happened to some of the promising measures we documented in our last report. The appetite for sweeping change and broad support for quality information we described then has grown. Many of the organizations we spoke to last year are close to making major announcements and all feel they made headway in 2020. In the absence of research and hard evidence as to what works best (not unique to journalism—some things are essentially unknowable) we’re seeing pragmatism, with different groups backing policies that seem politically feasible. There is continuing tension between the larger, established outlets that benefit from many of the government programs to support journalism and the niche players/digital startups, which have less to gain. This is getting in the way of agreements as to which, if any, government policies to support. However, given the political and economic contexts in many countries, it’s not clear what the counterfactual would be: If there were agreement and a concerted push, would it make a difference given the political constraints that exist around the world? There is lots of useful new research on media viability and how to help save journalism. One outstanding example was the 2021 report from Reporters without Borders calling for a New Deal for journalism.’