Media Moves

To make things right, we need to understand what went wrong

June 18, 2020

Posted by Mariam Ahmed

Columbia Journalism Review and the Tow Center for Digital Journalism, both at the Columbia Journalism School, are partnering to understand the news landscape that needs a reform.

With this aim, both organizations are launching “The Journalism Crisis Project,” an effort to first understand what went wrong in local news and how to fix it.

Their work will build on other efforts around the media business, including at the Poynter Institute, and Penny Abernathy, the Knight Chair of Journalism and Digital Media Economics at the University of North Carolina, a leading expert on the loss of the local news ecosystem and what that loss means.

Since the pandemic tightened its hold in March, CJR and the Tow Center have been compiling and updating a database on losses throughout journalism, including layoffs, furloughs, salary cuts, closings and more.

As of now, both organizations have tracked more than 700 entries of reported changes at hundreds of publications.

Through such efforts, The Journalism Crisis Project aims for a baseline of reliable data from which one can begin to understand where we go next.

Although these efforts will raise difficult questions, it will be a stepping stone to understand the big problem of “what went wrong” and hopefully allow us to find a solution which might put this status quo to rest.

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