News 2.0: Can Journalism Survive the Internet?

By Martin Hirst | Go to book overview

2
Why is journalism
in crisis?

Journalism entered the twenty-first century caught in a
paradox of its own making … journalism is also under wide-
spread attack, from politicians, philosophers, the general
public, and even from journalists themselves.

Ian Hargreaves

Ian Hargreaves is a professor of journalism at Cardiff University and had an illustrious career in British journalism; for 20 years he worked for the BBC, The Guardian and The Independent, among other postings. His book, Journalism: Truth or Dare?, published in 2003, explains the paradox he refers to above: the tense and contradictory relationships that exist between journalism, economics, popular culture and politics—or, in other words, the dialectical tensions between the public-interest role of the news media, the needs and desires of the news consumers, the profit motive of capitalism and the controlling power of the State. The exploration of this multi-layered relationship will take up a large part of this book, but the first task is to define and describe the crisis in journalism. It takes several forms, each of them distinct, but all interlocked.

In the Western world today, the public is losing confidence in the mainstream news media’s ability to do a good job. There is the perception that journalists and editors are failing in their duty to promote and protect the public interest. This is one very important reason why alternative forms of news production—variously called ‘citizen journalism’ (Rosen, 2008), ‘alternative journalism’ (Atton and Hamilton, 2008) or

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