Sustaining Journalism, Sustaining Democracy

Dr. Courtney C. Radsch is a journalist, author and advocate working at the nexus of technology, media and policy, and is a fellow at the UCLA Institute for Technology, Law & Policy and the Center for Media Data and Society (CEU). Michael Karanicolas is the Executive Director of the UCLA Institute for Technology Law & Policy, and an affiliated fellow with the Information Society Project at Yale Law School. After decades of shrinking revenues, and an increasing expectation among consumers that the news should be free, the global news media industry has reached a crisis point. The importance of the press to maintaining democracy means that, as the financial models which underlie the news media industry have come under increasing pressure, both emerging and established democracies have seen a steady erosion of trust in institutions of knowledge and governance.  Evidence of the problem can be seen in the proliferation of misinformation and conspiracy theories, which blur the line between fantasy and reality, from politics to public health. As the electorate loses faith in our political and governance structures, extremism and political violence become normalized. Even worse, as structures of public accountability degrade, autocrats and would-be autocrats have grown skilled at manipulating the online discourse to suit their pursuit of power.  While there is no single cause underlying journalism’s long-term decline, much of the blame points to shifting markets for information, and the increasing reliance of news outlets on online platforms to disseminate their product and to generate revenue. As the…Sustaining Journalism, Sustaining Democracy