VANDALISM? CORRUPTION? HAVE NO WHERE ELSE TO TURN? NO STORY TOO BIG OR SMALL THE OSN WILL INVESTIGATE! Please email news tips to Hildelysiak@gmail.com
By Hilde Kate Lysiak
NOTE FROM THE PUBLISHER: THIS IS NOT A STATEMENT ON THE CANDIDACY OF BERNIE SANDERS (THE OSN DOESN’T GET INTO POLITICS), BUT JUST ONE VIEW OF ONE JOURNALISM POLICY MENTIONED THAT IS IMPORTANT TO THE OSN. THANK YOU
Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders recently published an Op-Ed in the Columbia Journalism Review on his plan to save journalism.
Mr. Sanders Op-Ed begins by offering a great defense of the mission of real reporters, writing “Real journalism is different from the gossip, punditry, and clickbait that dominates today’s news. Real journalism, in the words of Joseph Pulitzer, is the painstaking reporting that will “fight for progress and reform, never tolerate injustice or corruption, [and] always fight demagogues.” Pulitzer said that journalism must always “oppose privileged classes and public plunderers, never lack sympathy with the poor, always remain devoted to the public welfare, never be satisfied with merely printing news, always be drastically independent, never be afraid to attack wrong, whether by predatory plutocracy or predatory poverty.”
The OSN couldn’t agree more!
But if Mr. Sanders understands this, then why would he propose (among many other ideas) that we make some media dependent on the very powers that we are supposed to hold into account?
Mr. Sanders writes, “we should consider taxing targeted ads and using the revenue to fund nonprofit civic-minded media. That will be part of an overall effort to substantially increase funding for programs that support public media’s news-gathering operations at the local level—in much the same way many other countries already fund independent public media.”
The OSN isn’t questioning Mr. Sanders intentions of judging his candidacy, but as a journalist who has covered hundreds of local news stories, it is the view of this reporter that by making some media dependent on the same government they we are supposed to be holding to account, that this proposal could be harmful.
In today’s America, the most powerful people are often the rich who own many of the products and services we decide to buy, and the government who are trusted to make laws. For a reporter to do their job, they need to be independent from both.
How can a reporter be independent when their paycheck might depend on one — or both?
I also take issue with Mr. Sanders view that journalism NEEDS a plan to be saved, but the OSN has some ideas on how struggling media can survive and grow today (outlines most fully in my commencement speech at the top of this story).
First, I believe the future has never been brighter for reporters.
Think about it. Has there ever been a time when more people wanted or needed the news more than at THIS very moment right now?
Because of the internet, people from all around the world can access information anytime and anywhere and all from the screen of their smartphone.
I’m proud to say that the newspaper I’m the publisher of, the Orange Street News, DOES make a profit. And I do this while also publishing all my stories online for free and without accepting paid a single dollar in advertising. In fact, my print subscribers are enough for me to pay for all of my expenses including printing along with a few upgrades.
First, I keep my expenses low.
But most importantly, I never stop working to get good stories, and good scoops leads to new subscribers.
It isn’t complicated. I know that as soon as the Orange Street News stops getting exclusive stories that are important to the people, the people will stop buying the Orange Street News.
And I think that is how it should be.
But there IS a crisis in media.
But it isn’t the shrinking newsrooms or losses in revenue.
The crisis we are facing, is one of trust.
See -too many people just don’t trust what they are reading anymore.
And if you are wondering how we got to this point, just look no further than the current generation of reporters. Too many of them have strayed from the basics I knew by age six — that reporting was about finding answers to those six sacred questions: who, what, when, why, and how.
Instead, too many of today’s reporters on both the left and right have made a decision to start mixing their reporting with a kind of theater, a disgusting sort of political based entertainment that seeks to divide people along political party lines to fulfill whatever bias they might feel or maybe to generate page clicks or whatever.
Don’t believe me?
Pull up your favorite reporter’s Twitter account, spend two minutes going through their feed, and then ask yourself if the other fifty percent of the country who don’t agree with their political opinions are going to believe A SINGLE WORD of their reporting.
These so-called reporters spend so much time trying to persuade other people to think just like they do, but what they never understood is that by doing so they’ve become nothing but more noise.
See – by mixing their political opinions with their news they’ve created two different medias.
As a result, people are increasingly only talking to themselves, or to those who already think the exact same way that they do. And without new information, how can people grow?
That’s why I keep my political opinions to myself and am careful to report only facts.
I know that if I lose the trust of my readers, I might as well find another job.
But as long as I have that trust, I can keep growing.
The OSN believes that if media can establish this trust, that not only won’t journalism need to be saved by anyone — but that with all these new readers and new ways to get information — that we will enter a new golden age of media!
So thanks, but no thanks Mr. Sanders. The Orange Street News won’t ever accept handouts, whether it be from a corporation or those in the government, and will instead fight for my newspaper the old fashioned way — one subscriber at a time.