The state of journalism: Congress considers bills to protect journalists

Two bills are progressing in Congress to provide better legal protection for journalists, one to prevent federal law enforcement from subpoenaing journalist’s records and the second to protect against certain lawsuits. (Voice of America, October 18, 2022, by Mina Allen)

The percentage of Americans who trust the news media to report the news accurately and fairly ticked up two percentage points since 2016 but is still mired at a low 34 percent, according to a Gallup poll. (The Hill, October 18, 2022, by Dominick Mastrangelo)

Newsrooms are unionizing at record pace with one in six journalists now in a union at a time when Gannett announced more cuts in personnel just before the midterms and after laying off 400 staff during the summer. (Columbia Journalism Review, October 18, 2022, by Gabby Miller)

Management is dealing with falling revenues as inflation has taken its due. Newsprint costs are up 30 percent, electricity up 10 to 15 percent, fuel about 50 percent. (Poynter, October 19, 2022, by Rick Edmonds)

As local newspapers shut down, news enterprises with the look of traditional journalism but with ideological ends are filling the gap. (The Washington Post, October 15, 2022, by Michael Scherer)

Though abandoning a profitable flow of income, one local news site, the Richland Source in Ohio, is providing obituaries free of cost with the goal of cultivating loyalty in its readers and adding new subscribers. (NiemanLab, September 13, 2022, by Hannaa’ Tameez)

An editorial in The Seattle Times, August 24, 2022, says that Congress must step up to save local journalism, its jobs and role in a democratic system. One bill would allow news media to receive compensation from tech companies that profit from news content from local sources.

The New Hampshire attorney general charged the publisher of a local newspaper with putting up ads for candidates or budget proposals without posting a “paid for” label as required by law. (The Daily Beast, August 25, 2022, by Corbin Bolies)

A 25-year-old has built up a web series, the Channel 5 News, with 1.93 million subscribers on YouTube. He went from small-town news to filing reports from Ukraine, and covers important national events including a pro-choice rally and a NRA conference. (NiemanLab, July 21, 2022, by Theo Schear

The American Journalism Project announced the award of $3.15 million to three nonprofit news outlets, Verite in Mississippi, New Orleans’ ICT, formerly Indian Country Today, and New York’s THE CITY. (Editor & Publisher, July 20, 2022, by Staff)

Local journalist revealed the truth about the 10-year-old rape victim in Ohio who had to travel to Indiana to obtain an abortion. (CNN Business, July 18, 2022, by Ramishah Maruf)

Pew research revealed that journalists differ in opinion from the general public in the importance of providing balance in covering an issue. Fifty-five percent of journalists believes that not every side deserves equal coverage while 22 percent of Americans say the same. Seventy-five percent of the public say journalists should always give all sides of an issue. (Pew Research Center, July 13, 2022, by Naomi Forman-Katz and Mark Jurkowitz)

Facing budget shortfalls, Gannett chose to cut opinion page content. Edward Wasserman in The San Francisco Chronicle, July 8, 2022, writes “…as owner of one-fifth of the country’s dailies, Gannett’s move can’t help but darken the wider prospects for traditional opinion journalism — to the dismay of the shrunken corps of editorial cartoonists — and cast a shadow over the future of a discourse that once defined the essential civic mission of the whole news enterprise.”