How a decline in labor coverage has hurt the media
Steven Greenhouse, the former labor reporter at the New York Times, writes for the Columbia Journalism Review about how a decline in labor coverage has hurt trust in the media.
Greenhouse writes, “A steelworker remarked that ‘the American worker has been put on the back burner’ by the media. Several workers said they wanted more local coverage of plant closings, the negative effects of trade, and the waves of layoffs that have hit their communities. Some said they wanted more stories on the difficulties their children face affording college and on the financial challenges of retirement—that is, if they can afford to retire. They praised the media, print and broadcast, when those outlets covered matters of great local concern, such as the opiate crisis or campaign finance scandals in their state capitals.
“Some workers love Sean Hannity and Fox News; some prefer Rachel Maddow and MSNBC. Many dislike, even resent, all the shouting on cable television. And many say they no longer trust the press—and not just because Donald Trump has declared war on mainstream news organizations. Rather, many workers wax nostalgic about Walter Cronkite and ask, ‘Where are the respected, unbiased voices of yesteryear?’ Blue-collar workers vigorously, even angrily disagree about whether the media is fair to Trump. Some workers say the coverage of him is far too harsh and one-sided; others argue that tough, probing coverage of Trump is urgently needed.
“The media covers blue-collar America less closely than it did several decades ago. Christopher R. Martin, author of No Longer Newsworthy: How the Mainstream Media Abandoned the Working Class, which will be published in May, tells me that as more outlets became publicly owned and traded on the stock exchange, they began pursuing a different audience to help boost profits. ‘Many moved from a mass audience to more of an upscale audience,’ Martin says. ‘Many newspapers have cut back on, or entirely eliminated, the labor beat—the one beat that talked about the life of the working class.'”
Read more here.