20200
P
1
20100
R  E
2
2070
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2050
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2040
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2030
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2020
I  S  M  2  0  2  0
7

Journalism becomes more democratic

“Journalists are building power inside and outside the newsroom, creating a coalition that the capitalists will not withstand.”

Throughout the United States, journalists are behaving more democratically. To finance their work, news organizations are increasingly turning to small-dollar donors and members, becoming more accountable to the public and less reliant on special interests. Editorial decisions are being made by more than just editors. Engagement platforms and services power polling, one-on-one interaction, and group discussion to inform journalists and let their communities lead their reporting. In-person dialogue and events supplement digital listening.

Ownership and production is changing, too. Unionization is on the rise, giving labor an overdue voice in management decisions. The Devil Strip and Mendocino Voice are putting their audience in the publisher’s seat by transitioning into community-owned co-operatives. And in Chicago, City Bureau is deputizing hundreds of citizens to document the city’s public meetings.

In these examples, journalists are making journalism more participatory, transparent, deliberative, and decentralized. They’re making it more democratic. And there is no better way to respond to the spread of autocracy in the U.S. and its media than by being more democratic ourselves.

It’s a vital reformation that can address modern journalism’s original sin: that, from the newsroom to the boardroom to the platforms that distribute our content, power is mostly concentrated in the hands of people who either benefit from white-supremacist capitalist patriarchy or flat-out agree with its ideology. That’s the reason why things aren’t changing fast enough; why the myth of objectivity still prevails; why racists get bylines; and why shareholder value matters more than the public good.

To address the deficits in our democracy, we must become more democratic. The tide is turning. Journalists are building power inside and outside the newsroom, creating a coalition that the capitalists will not withstand. The foundations of a more public press get laid in 2020.

Simon Galperin is customer success lead at GroundSource and founding director of the Community Info Coop.

Throughout the United States, journalists are behaving more democratically. To finance their work, news organizations are increasingly turning to small-dollar donors and members, becoming more accountable to the public and less reliant on special interests. Editorial decisions are being made by more than just editors. Engagement platforms and services power polling, one-on-one interaction, and group discussion to inform journalists and let their communities lead their reporting. In-person dialogue and events supplement digital listening.

Ownership and production is changing, too. Unionization is on the rise, giving labor an overdue voice in management decisions. The Devil Strip and Mendocino Voice are putting their audience in the publisher’s seat by transitioning into community-owned co-operatives. And in Chicago, City Bureau is deputizing hundreds of citizens to document the city’s public meetings.

In these examples, journalists are making journalism more participatory, transparent, deliberative, and decentralized. They’re making it more democratic. And there is no better way to respond to the spread of autocracy in the U.S. and its media than by being more democratic ourselves.

It’s a vital reformation that can address modern journalism’s original sin: that, from the newsroom to the boardroom to the platforms that distribute our content, power is mostly concentrated in the hands of people who either benefit from white-supremacist capitalist patriarchy or flat-out agree with its ideology. That’s the reason why things aren’t changing fast enough; why the myth of objectivity still prevails; why racists get bylines; and why shareholder value matters more than the public good.

To address the deficits in our democracy, we must become more democratic. The tide is turning. Journalists are building power inside and outside the newsroom, creating a coalition that the capitalists will not withstand. The foundations of a more public press get laid in 2020.

Simon Galperin is customer success lead at GroundSource and founding director of the Community Info Coop.

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