In 2018, good journalism will not be enough.
The prevailing attitude in many newsrooms is that if reporters just keep their heads down and do good journalism, it ought to be enough. Enough for the public to trust it, enough to convince people that it’s essential to democracy, enough to make the business sustainable, enough to ignore charges of it being too white and too male, and enough to safeguard against disinformation. And — the thinking goes — if the public can’t appreciate good reporting, well, then that’s on “them” and not on “us.”
If journalism is to thrive, it must pair trustworthy facts with trust-building practices. This means moving beyond the often extractive “community engagement” practices and toward “community collaboration.” It means listening to understand without being defensive (like, don’t call widespread and agreed-upon criticism “the most ridiculous overreaction”). If journalism is to thrive, it must fix its foolish lack of diversity in newsroom staff, sources, and stories. It must also uphold democracy by being more democratic in its newsgathering process.
Perhaps most importantly, if journalism is to thrive well into the future, it must acknowledge and fight against its contributions to maintaining the status quo, both on the front page and inside the newsroom. Journalists should use their privilege to be in solidarity with people whose stories are rarely told, who are leading struggles for meaningful community change. Good journalism challenges power, rather than cozying up to it.
Editor’s note: A brilliant article #mustread