2017 is gonna be a big, controversial, historic year.
Do we have the news media we need to help navigate these weird times?
That’s this week’s topic. The News Media. So we called together a news editor, a co-founder of a community news startup and a night-time AM talk-host to help figure it out.
Our guests: Robin Amer, News Editor at the Chicago Reader, Darryl Holliday, Co-founder of the Chicago Bureau and Justin Kaufmann of WGN-AM’s the Download.
It’s a wide-ranging conversation about social media, the obligations of news organizations, changing media habits and
Some selected quotes:
Amer on defining Truth:
I think one of the scariest things for me as a journalist to have witnessed over 2016 is the absolute break-down in the kind of consensus over what is truth and what are facts, and are my facts “the same as your facts.” And if we as the public can’t even agree on what truth is or what the facts are, how can we have a robust public policy debate about how we move forward as a country when we don’t even take the same facts for granted?…Okay, if I put it in the paper and it’s vetted and it’s fact-checked and it’s true and you should believe that it’s true, but that’s not the case anymore. Like, you can’t take for granted that readers will even believe you or that they aren’t reading something else that claims to be equally true that completely contradicts what you’ve reported. I think that to me this is one of the great conundrums of our time.
Kaufmann on a gut-wrenching decision facing most newsrooms:
Do news organizations, newspapers, are they going to join in or be in a situation where they use Facebook and Google to be their platform, or are they going to compete against those platforms? And that’s what the news industry…That’s the news industries’ sort of issue with 2017. Do they put resources into building their platforms to be Chicago Tribune Facebook, Google? Or do they say, you know what, these are the platforms, we’ll make our money in other ways.
Amer on how the Reader is grappling with that very question:
Now we could go straight to Facebook, but at that point you are giving them all of your content and you are putting yourself in a very vulnerable situation, because the second that they change their algorithm, or the second that they change…their ad rates, or the second that they change their time about being a source of news or whatever, they’ve completely pulled out the rug from underneath you and you’ve cultivated an audience that isn’t used to consuming your content anywhere but there. And so we’ve been really reticent to do that.
It’s a wonderful conversation, and we humbly believe it’s worth your while to listen.
As we say, Chicago Newsroom is also a pretty good radio show, and you can listen in your earbuds at our SoundCloud page, right HERE.
And you can read a full transcript of this week’s show right HERE:cn-transcript-january-5-2017