A Media Revolution That Will Begin the World Again

Robert W. McChesney, a communications professor from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and John Nichols, The Nation’s Washington correspondent, stopped in Chicago at DePaul University and 57th Street Books in Hyde Park to talk about their new book The Death and Life of American Journalism on the collapse of traditional newspapers, the decline of journalism in this country, and the solutions Americans might employ to save journalism and, in fact, save America’s democratic society from complete ruin…

…One of the ideas that most intrigued me was the idea put forth by Nichols that many, many young journalists are losing interest in journalism because there are no jobs. He proposed that America set up a News Americorps so young people could work at community radio stations, develop news sites in communities, and help start up media organizations. This would directly benefit citizens and give young people truly remarkable experiences in the field of journalism.

I feel this is one measure that could really lead young people to consider what it means to be a journalist. An Americorps program for news would not only help youth realize journalism is a public good but it would also, hopefully, lead them to be less complacent in a news media climate that desperately needs many of its conventions to be upended.

Young journalists are rightfully terrified of life without a job doing a craft they went to school to learn, school they will be paying massive student loans on for years. They play it safe and are all too willing to serve local news entities that inundate communities regularly with weather, crime, self-help, and sports segments irrelevant to whether we survive as an American society or not.

Far too many youth lack the will or fire to go out and do good muckraking journalism or just plain classic investigative reporting.

Youth come to colleges to do celebrity, fashion, and sports reporting. They want to do 600-word blog gossip and make money off what they think there is a market for. Their perceptions are usually affirmed as they are taught that political or social journalism has no advertising dollars to support it and so they must find another way to succeed…

Click here for more on McChesney’s and Nichols’ stop in Chicago

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