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Regarding the future of journalism


I’m experimenting with a series of posts regarding the future of the journalism industry.

I’m probably underqualified to write this as a second-year undergraduate journalism student, but I’m also told to say something whenever “something doesn’t feel quite right,” so here goes: the journalism industry is in a critical condition.

There. I said it. We’ve all known the journalism industry has been dying for some time, but I — having spent a sum of zero hours working in any bona fide media outlet — hereby declare the industry as near death. I recognize it’s a pretty bold claim.

Before the election of Donald Trump to the presidency, I was hesitant to make such a point. I knew many people were going to disagree with me, and I was reasonably certain they were right; while newspapers were suffering from a slow and seemingly inevitable death, the news and journalism industry as a whole seemed to be doing all right. It certainly wasn’t the heyday of journalism, but it was all right.

Now, though, it’s become clear: the journalism industry has failed to live up to its role in this elective democracy known as the United States. Whatever your political views and affiliation, the journalism and news industry has failed you.

I firmly believe nothing is more fundamental to a healthy, functioning democracy than a well-informed electorate. The role of journalism — regardless of how it appears or who or what may be playing it — is to inform, educate, and empower the people.

Since I entered the Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications over a year ago, I’ve been thinking about the future of the journalism industry, and ways to solve the problems with the model of journalism as it exists today. In these series of posts, I’ll share my thoughts, and I invite you to contribute your views and expertise to this discussion.

It’s time we worked out what this industry should look like in the 21st century.

By Leo Ji

software engineer and news nerd