tv Nikki Usher News for the Rich White and Blue - How Place and Power... CSPAN November 25, 2021 5:13am-6:13am EST
♪ now journalism professor ♪ ♪ nikki usher offers her♪ ♪ thoughts on the challenges ♪ ♪ facing american journalism ♪ ♪ .♪ ♪ >> i'm very lynn and ♪ ♪ executive director of over ♪ ♪ market institute and i'm ♪ ♪ one of the founders of the ♪ ♪ center for journalismand ♪ ♪ liberty .♪ ♪ we lost see gao in late 19 ♪ ♪ as part of the research ♪ ♪ network to focus on ♪ ♪ identifying and ♪ ♪ establishing market ♪ ♪ structures that will ♪ ♪ ensure the full ♪ ♪ independence and ♪ ♪ robustness of american ♪ ♪ journalism in thedigital ♪ ♪ age .♪ ♪ i'm truly thrilled today ♪ ♪ to be able to introduce ♪ ♪ nikki usher who is a ♪ ♪ senior fellow at dto ♪
♪ nikki's new book news for ♪ ♪ the rich white and blue.♪ ♪ how power displaced ♪ ♪ american journalism.♪ ♪ nikki is an associate ♪ ♪ professor at university of ♪ ♪ illinois and author of two ♪ ♪ previous books.♪ ♪ i first met nikki about ♪ ♪ five years ago at a ♪ ♪ holiday party and the ♪ ♪ offices of the foundation ♪ ♪ here in dc.♪ ♪ one of those places where ♪ ♪ people speak softly and ♪ ♪ try to avoid all ♪ ♪ references to power and ♪ ♪ class.♪ ♪ after talking to nikki ♪ ♪ five minutes i realized ♪ ♪ two things: nikki usher is ♪ ♪ a brilliant observer of ♪ ♪ today's journalism and ♪ ♪ nikki usher is a hell of a ♪ ♪ fighter.♪ ♪ and i thought to myself, ♪ ♪ nikki and i are going to ♪ ♪ work together someday to ♪ ♪ help save wasn't in ♪ ♪ america.♪ ♪ from the powers that now ♪ ♪ most threaten it, ♪ ♪ especially google and ♪ ♪ facebook but also from the ♪ ♪ edginess and wealth of the♪ ♪ privileged .♪
♪ when power and politics ♪ ♪ got in the way, donald ♪ ♪ trump won the white house, ♪ ♪ google open markets, ♪ ♪ facebook decided they ♪ ♪ wanted to rule the world.♪ ♪ so it took a while but in ♪ ♪ late 2019 nikki and i♪ ♪ reconnected and this book ♪ ♪ is proof of two things .♪ ♪ first nikki indeed has the ♪ ♪ chops to save american ♪ ♪ journalism and second, ♪ ♪ that nikki can pretty much ♪ ♪ do it on her own.♪ ♪ that said you have someone ♪ ♪ with us today to talk with ♪ ♪ nikki about news for the ♪ ♪ rich white and blue is ♪ ♪ himself very much an ♪ ♪ expert in these same ♪ ♪ threats.♪ ♪ that's matt thompson of ♪ ♪ the new york times.♪ ♪ matt is editor of the ♪ ♪ times new headway in ♪ ♪ addition which does the ♪ ♪ investigations into ♪ ♪ economic health, the ♪ ♪ environment and more.♪ ♪ he has worked with the ♪ ♪ fresno bee, tribune and ♪ ♪ the atlantic as well as at ♪ ♪ the center for public ♪ ♪ integrity and the poynter ♪ ♪ institute.♪ ♪ in her book mickey wright ♪ ♪ journalism is what enables ♪
♪ an active and engaged ♪ ♪ citizen. we can't win this great battle unless every citizen is active and engaged in every citizen is working to protect and rebuild american journalism. finally one little note which is being recorded for book tvs on c-span. we don't have an air date for that but hopefully we will let you know soon. now i'm going to turn itover to matt . >> thank you barry and thank you to everyone for joining us. i'm elated to be here to discuss this book news or the rich white and blue: how power distorts american journalism with nikki nikki , i think it would probably be hard to be a journalist in the us and the
news industry today and not feel like your book describes that world so we will test the premise of your book i'm sure in this conversation but i want to assume it first. you say our news media struggles at present to amplify the voicesthat most need to be heard in a democracy . political representation and meaningful redress due to structural integration. and yet i would say most journalists i know and i know a lot of journalists come into this field with this passion for listing the voices of everyday people particularly those most at risk of discrimination. how is it that we come in with these noble ideals and end up reinforcing or amplifying structural inequities?
>> i think it's a great question and thanks again for meetingand chatting with me about this . i think what's acknowledged is there is a lot of trauma and tremendous journalism done by national news organizations and it's about the great work you've done to so i start to worry that they will become hugenational news organizations which aren't that many . they're doing the spotlights and they are doing them well but it's often extracted. like let me explain this poor person in mississippi who has raw sewage in her home. so there is great journalism and journalism that is focused on these concerns but
it's about people rather than for them so that's one side. the other side of it is you get trapped into doing that journalism always. there's certain kinds of stories that we cover. thereare certain kinds of stories that are going to win awards . you end up reinforcing power because you end uptalking to the powerful for your stories . you talk to the powerful because their sources that matter to verify stuff like that but there's that side of these institutional routines and then you have to look within yourself to to think about who's asked to be a journalist in these newsrooms that are telling the stories and increasingly they don't look like the rest of the united states. and this isn't an
anti-intellectual thing obviously . it's more like you people have experiences that have led them to the newsroom and give them the ability to be conscious about this spot or understand what the issues are before them. >> one of the questions i wonder as you wrote the book is what has changed the most? you mentioned this now that these failures or weaknesses at least of journalism are long-standing. they are aspects of journalism in some cases of how journalism has engaged at least here in the us with a political power elite. what do you think are the biggest changes that have
amplified and reinforced that dissonance between who is represented in newsrooms. who's represented in the news and what the concerns of these people are that populate our country? >> i think they're always has been a power elite. the question now that is making this 10 times worse is that we are at a crisis point . we debate in the academy whether the word crisis was apt to describe january 6 but these are going bankrupt, hedge funds are taking over, why aren't these important news organizations stripping them to the core? the economic fragility of the newsroom has made for all time uncertainty and this goes for the digital first publications, this goes for the disruption of internet tv
and cable and all this stuff so that economic í he that news organizations across the united states are facing creates a different set of incentives for survival and then for the people who choose to go into journalism it's really hard for those people who don't have a safety net that they should bank on this as a career if they want to help the world a better place. there are just more sealable jobs that still help people so that ends up being a serious problem wherepeople are scared to take the risk to become a journalist .>> and it's a risk for all sorts of reasons. economic, political and other. you, i kind of wanted to talk in terms of the three
dimensions of place. that you mention in your book . you talk about place as both a geographic and material setting for news as you put it. a place as being something that's lived. where we go to the grocery store or we travel on highways. and place as having cultural economic and symbolic power. so i kind of wanted to talk all three of those. i think contribute to the divisive chronicle that we book. and its i should say to the forces you chronicle in the book. i wanted to ask about the ways in which they separately contribute to the problem and the ways in which they reinforce it so starting with the geographic lens. talk all but a bit about where newsrooms are and art and one of the things that
always struck me and imost wanted to ask you about is that newsrooms in a lot of cities , the sort of classic ideal of where the newsroom is situated in the city is a beacon. a big building in downtown with security guards and where it's both a symbol that this place has a powerful institution that is holding the powerful accountable that's down the road from city hall but also potentially a kind of alienating monolith where the news is made behind closed doors in walls somewhere. and is there possibly possibility that i was as newsrooms, as that real estate has gotten challenging for these corporations, or media companies to uphold drives them deeper into their communities mixture wasn't in the process of making it more
accessible. >> i love the positive gloss and i'd be curious because there's what you think too. that's been a significant disrupter in the fact that journalists are now working from home and getting these but that's life-threatening. depending on who you are and where you're going. so that's a real limit on the ability of journalists to do recording but i think that what you think about the new york times , it's it's a position at a placewhere i don't know how many thousands , is it millions of people that build from the port authority and a times square in a single day and see this gigantic building that they it's beautiful and very nearly like a skyscraper to
the new york times. and i think chicago is the ultimate example of all this because chicago tribune is like having a gothic cathedral in the middle of michigan avenue. and you know, my students don't realize that's not a historic landmark. it's a lobby actually of the chicago tribune but they're not there anymore. i think that that loss of a symbol and that loss of being a monolith really i think undermines their authority. of some of these news organizations and part of it is that people see the building is here and they think there isn't any news or any newspapers anymore. and that i think is out of sight, out of mind. it's a big concern when italk to journalists in miami . they literally go to a restaurant and it's not there anymore. and in a place where out of
sight out of mind is a real issue, that makes it problematic. journalists into their communities anymore, you don't actually want journalists in the newsroom. you want reporters out and about in the community. so we would hope so but my worry is we get even more. since you don't have to go downtown, to go to the newsroom are not going to encounter homeless person every day on the street before you hop on to the next show or the one you see writing the city bus so there's these encounters of people outside of your daily routine . i think really are i really worry about that. you need to get people who aren't like you in certain situations that you're not used to being around and are always comfortable in seeing. so i'd be curious because
this is at a time when you're not just going to be in the building, they're coming out to san francisco . it's kind of puts the question back on you. >> it's interesting because i see, i ask you this as a second because it's ambivalent questions for your book and i feel ambivalent about this to . on the one hand , there are all of these cities. like minneapolis when it's interesting when i worked at the star tribune in minneapolis, the building was very prominently downtown with the star tribune carved in stone into the top of the building.if you were going to viking game you are going to see the star tribune as a state institution anchoring downtown . and now it's a beautiful
skyscraper,still downtown . the name of the newspaper is not quite so prominent and the former site of thestar tribune is occupied by the lincoln stadium . so i feel ambivalent about it. on the one hand the star tribune staff has been reasonably robust next to some of the others. it's come back after one of the most troubling period i would say any metropolitan newspaper has gone through. that's the whole story for another day . there's a by that the paper is active in his community. healthy relative to where it was. still lighting for its existence every day i don't know when minneapolis was
experiencing p waves of protest in 2020 last year. i don't know if the journalism's, the journalists downtown, how many of them felt the pressure cooking in the city down by the park which is a distance away from downtown. i don't know how much the residents fought for and identified with the lake in minneapolis being changed from being named after john c calhoun to being back to its original indigenous name. i don't know where the residents who felt represented by that change if they also felt represented by the star tribune or saw journalists in their neighborhood .
saw the authority to that the institution had as an as authoritative to them as well. i can't tell you those things despite having lived and been a journalist inminnesota . so i don't know. i'm ambivalent and it feels like that ambivalence, that same flavor ofambivalence runs through your book . you're saying two things at once, both that journalism is critical and does and can do a significant amount to shore up, reinforce and make healthy democracy and on the other hand it also reinforces patterns and inequities that are disruptive to democracy so is that ambivalence to you? you feel that western mark. >> there's an answer for every academic and it's complicated.
that's my way of saying it stop it. i think that the conversation and i think also open markets for not taking a sort of like basic nostalgia path about american journalism. you can't really get to the heart of what's happening in american journalism and around the public trust and economic spaces. a crisis of arguably having a lack of representation. you can't talk about that stuff when you're waxing eloquent about public service journalism. serving the community and what happens when the watchdogs are there.but you have to be real about the ways in which you do these news organizations and journalists are a part ofthe power . they're not always perfect. they perpetuated legacies of racism and segregation if not in actuality de facto. and so you can't just try to
put a band-aid on a problem in journalism by pretending all that doesn't exist. that's kind of my big objection. if you want to talk about changing journalism for the better, this idea of preserving institutions that have notalways done what they promised and often fallen very short of the whole . that's laudable but if you want to save journalism you have to think about what is the function of journalism, not the institution of a newspaper . the vast that's kind of what i'mgetting at . journalism is important and it matters but as it's currently you don't you can't have an honest conversation about what it does for democracy unless we acknowledge that it is also flawed as we currently imagine it. >> in the process of researching and i would say reporting what led to this
book, what did you the most hope. what was there anything that you saw that you were like that looks like a post newspaper development. >> i think that there's a real difficulty because i recognize news media that we need news organizations to have powerful institutional voices. and some of them are exciting experiments in journalism. there are these people who are underserved and develop things like outlines and there's a listgoing on in philadelphia . the city bureau in chicago, some of them are the most exciting experiments in journalism are very community center about communities , for communities but i wonder
about their ability to really back to power because there are entire city governments have no idea they exist. and then i think about our role in where i am now and i think a lot of those in the fact that there are people who don't consider themselves journalists that hurt somehow sitting on long blocks. you got germany that sets out a lot of restaurant news but also has the use of mugshots inour newspapers . so i think that there's a lot of hope but i just wonder how much power people on the periphery even if they are looking in journalism have to get the attention of the powerful. and that's what i worry about. there are all these ways of doing journalists that people are thinking about. and currently my students to.
i encourage anybody interested in journalism, how do we make sure that it's like city bureau in chicago uncovers that that somebody actually cares. that's what i worryabout . >> i think that tension between the access and reach the power and the authenticity reach and representation ofjournalism. that i have felt every day i would say of my career . possibly nowhere more than in the sea where that access in itself, it's in its most brutal incarnations is like a game. it's what our people in power , what are people with proximity to power willing to give up for what sort of
representation and coverage. and i guess are there alternatives to, are there other ways of building power. that reads the power to people been having to go to dc and go to fancy dinners or be physically geographically moved from the people whose voices you're representing or are purporting to represent in your coverage. >> i think that delicate balance of access and power. you need to be close to it to understand it . i think you and i have, we've been in that world and we left it. but we understand it. we're not scared by it. to understand how to move through a room in washington.
there's a considerably important skill and to be comfortable with people who are in charge of governing is a really important thing that soul sucking around doing things that we don't necessarily believe in what you're doing it because it gives you power is something that you see up close but the problem is you get sucked into that world and you think of what's happening in the media as the most important thing. but no, you can literallymake a joke about something that was on cnn about an hour ago and everybody will get it . that's a very weird dc thing. the story of these the day in dc's far from the story of todayoutside dc . and if the story in dc is the debt ceiling, thestory in minneapolis is the vikings .
so that disconnect is really problematic. one of the things i think is interesting is when people have flipped this so there are a number of journalists who are working for very in-store dc publications politico or vox that are these standardbearers that i thinkthat's really how do you cover national news , not from dc? of course you can do that. you don't necessarily haveto be in dc to cover national news . i think some journalists are conscious of that and i think that we will start to see journalists get more embedded in our different communities where they can leverage the institutions they are a part of the still be better connected to not dc.
>> we are starting to get some questions in the queue and day so i will in a moment start feeding these questions into our conversation. when i was in at reveal, ultimately the center for investigativereporting , i look at reveals amazon investigation led by little evans and i think of it as an example of building power from a lot of different voices to, amazon been investigated by a lot of journalism and its labor practices in particular are under a lot of scrutiny by the press but it's been pretty hard for those stories i would thinkto sort of breakthrough . but i would say that reveals investigation did in part because will, that reporting was very much focused on finding employees working at amazon warehouses across the
country and equipping them with the know-how to get these forms, documenting injuries in their warehouses, in their organization. and so we had people sending us these forms, those forms can only be requested by workers but we had people all over the country sending reveal what we found. here areinjuries and that any of us together this feature that amazon could not deny . and i would say it felt like an alternative form of power because we would not have gotten that data from amazon ultimately we help them through the courts to give us that data, to release that data that feels like an alternative path i'm curious what are the possibilities that you see for a national
organization, reveals his national but to work with organizations like revealed it like the indianapolis star to craft power in a different way? >> i think that this is one of the reasons i wanted to chat with you because you're really rethinking how we do investigative journalism from the bottom where the people who wear covering also talk to the people who are part of creating the stories themselves and i think that when journalists start to leverage these connections, that is bottom up power challenging, using journalism and using media institutions as avehicle for redirecting it up . and i think that how can you continue to take strategy that all used at amazon into other events?
with other corporations and i think corporations are the ones that the crisis in journalism more because of the reporting that you can still request government documents that amazon or google don't want to give you their money, you're never going to get. you're going to need to work with people on the inside. so i think it may actually be honestly how we engage voices such that not just color or conversation or a starting point for the journalists to go off and do their own position but part of covering themselves. that goes beyond engaged journalism are like a journalist, i was curious about chicago, there is. that's is one form but you're talking about taking it tothe end degree . but the ability of large national news organizations
that can bring together sort of smaller more regional news organizations. i think that's the way of amplifying absolutely but i worry a lot about theinternal shift . you see it's tough to get reporting center founded, these are these people who have the best paper in that region or rarely but sometimes the best television. so there's a reshuffling of talent. >> .. this is like the kind of thing that sends shivers through like old-school journalists to imagine sources having this kind
of power to help create a story. >> that you mention places like ct bureau and chicago and its documentaries project where they're doing that, where they are training ordinary people to do the baselevel work the goes into a functioning city hall report, going to the meetings and figure out what questions to ask a asking them. i'm going to pull in some want to talk about the culture of the press for a second. you mention places also some good opponents question, if i pronounce your name, would you say that the meeting hero flirtation and later vilification of big-city, politically centrist figures is an example of a bias in class religion, color and rudy jolly after 9/11, andrew cuomo and
2020, and and there's probably a number of examples just from new york if you want to. anthony weiner, yeah. >> i mean, i think it's absolutely, the fact that anybody in p aurea can tell you the mayor of new york city is is like really tells you something about the way in which the media inflates certain places and very provincial things. i know way too much about the new york, new york, memorial for somebody living in central illinois. there are these relationships that develop over time and i think that yeah, giuliani became a mayor, cuomo came a governor but oh, my gosh particularly for governor cuomo the relationship that is tammy has had with the news media in new york goes back an entire generation. i remember when his dad was a senator, i was a kid, right, and so i think when it tends to
reflect this embedded power, relationship that is very long-lasting, very much a part of how journalism works and how you get these stories, and thoroughly certain kinds of people that are being brought in to those rooms. for cuomo we can make bad jokes about people being brought into rooms but we'll totally not do that. i think that bias you talking about in terms of class and region and color and ideology i think you're spot on. that's really my big central critique here is that how we cover the powerful reflects to some idea very much so what the media elite understands to be power and why that is important. and the media itself, the media itself like journalists are powerful especially at the largest national news organization. >> yeah.
one question comes from dan. he asks, whether we could discuss the effect of subscription firewalls on access and representation problems. i guess to even add, later on to that question, how do we address the dissidents between u.s. access to consume the news and who is represented in quotes and news reports and elsewhere throughout the press? >> i think there's nothing more maddening than the fact that certain people get better information than others. because they are deemed as likely to pay and they're willing to pay. i understand that journalism has to be paid for, i do, and has to be some way to do it. but what happens is this ends up distorting the conception among people making decisions about what, about who the audience is. the audience becomes
subscribers. i think that's what's happening, subscription-based, not clickbait. that's the strategy. that's the only way going forward but he really distorts even more so than it was before who's the news is for and who is being targeted. increasingly people are cut off from information, particularly at the local level because it becomes easier to treat the people who are the subjects of stories as subjects, right, rather than as people who matter, who we are going to engage with and stories told about rather than stories four. because it's not for those people, right, if it were talking about chronicling the effects of poverty in the city or something like that. yes, it's important for people
who are in elite decision-making positions to upgrade information but the downstream effects of people being kept from having really important information to run their daily lives, that's really, really problematic. you have to pay to know something about like what's happening with your sewer? he can sometimes newspapers in the city are the only place you're going to get that information now you have no idea why your school bus driver isn't showing up. >> that's so right. one of the challenges i would say for us in the business is that, like what do you do i guess? i would point this question to you. i went to harvard, i did the same nomadic journalism thing that a lot of journalists do where i reported or edited in fresno, saint pete, columbia,
missouri, minneapolis, d.c., and instances of the profession kind of point us in the direction of perhaps getting more immersed in a culture of the press than in a particular place where we are deeply rooted and connected not just on a city level but on a neighborhood level to the concerns of a public. but having identified that prescription what's been working journalist to do? how do we overcome or mitigate or even approach different entirely different pathways to journalism to see parts of the world that our background training, education, class privilege, et cetera, might obscure us? >> there is this larger culture what of what it means to be a successful journalist and i think that challenging what success means is part of it. like particularly i talking and
speaking with young journalists, is it really always like being in d.c., right, or if you're a sports reporter is working for espn. like is that really the end goal or is there a different end goal that's equally valuable important, and arguably more true to what we started his conversation with, which is a desire to change things and tell stories of people that sort of right injustices. i think that one side of it. i think in terms of you kind of put the economic crisis and kind of the crisis and representation inside journalism together, and they should be taken together, but i think the most important part of all this is making the people are working in newsrooms look more like the communities they cover. there's no excuse and i looked at these stats yesterday.
well, 9% of detroit is black. i'm sorry, is white, right? when you look at the number of journalists who are white in the "detroit free press," it's something like 80%. you can't tell me that there are ways to do better. like, do better. do better, right. and how are we failing as people care about this stuff did not make it possible for people to be empowered to become journalists to work in the spaces and to leverage that institutional power to do bottom-up, you know, top director journalism. and so yeah, i don't know, matt. the stuff that you've been doing with o in a and in a bj and all these news associations, i started to see colleges sponsor internships.
what we talked about before is rethinking federal work study the people had to choose between covering for the student newspaper and taking a job swiping jim cards, right, or even taking a third job just so they can afford to work at a student newspaper. just, like using some of the federal loan forgiveness, i think nonprofit journalists could definitely be swept in without a lot. i don't know. whenever you bring up journalism and conquers it's a big conflagration, right? what we can do better. we need to do better and part of doing better is having these conversations that we having today and not shutting up about it. >> yeah. i would say it's also, it can be easy, especially if you train
the lens on something like race and ethnicity and thinking about diversity as opposed to consider in multidimensional, including class in your analysis and income and wealth privilege. achingly pretty easy to create access for and to pat yourself on the back for creating access to folks who are actually pretty well represented in newsrooms. i am not -- i am curious how we define and speak explicitly, i think one of the challenges how do we talk in newsrooms about where our deficits are works i hear both a lot of fervor for diversity, or diversify our newsrooms, for broader representation and greater
region two communities or left out of journalism, but the explicit appeals trying to figure out how to make explicit when we're missing those voices and we're going without i think is a challenge. >> yeah, i mean, i think like you are the kind of person who has come at a no you've started these conversations very explicitly, right? because you been about as a person of color and some of the most elite museums in the country and we need more people like you, right, to being this positions and not just because they have an ivy league experience and can make it happen. they are talking around diversity inputting data to bear and i think sometimes when you have that data and makes it super superpowerful and it can't be ignored, so i think that's why some of the stuff around the survey so important because some of the work the students are part of the asian american
journalism association every summer they come up with some crazy piece that's like look at the lack of representation, and it's like really bound in like internship classes, right? i think the new yorker, when the archives editor of the new yorker literally went through 40,000 articles looking at like the number of black editors of any one piece and the number of reviews written by women, something like 32%. like you need the data to be able to draw the stark picture. for people who are journalists are empiricists, the data needs to be the guide and the benchmark i think. when you just talk vaguely about diversity and we need to improve, right, what have you done lately and really being delivered a look at this? i think we've had these conversations like just quoting
women. who was it? i forget, somebody at the atlantic who's doing that, like survey every year of like -- >> and young. >> yeah. and my quoting enough women? it's a self assessment. that need to be part and parcel of the practice of doing news work. >> yeah. i'm going to pull any question, related question, when it comes to the bottom up of investigative reporting in committee connection reporting, how do we connect with the unconnected such as indigenous people without wi-fi and those who are perhaps less connected but connected nonetheless in community spaces such as next-door which may not be great reporting forms are insightful in the micro keyboard issue. how do we connect with the unconnected? and what is journalism is relationship i guess at how can
we use them better? >> so currently obsessed with the role of platforms as serving as the critical infrastructure for communities and the problems with that but it's hard to ignore that in places like illinois and some of these rural counties. news as it is traditionally understood that move fast enough to capture came into dynamics and you really saw this with covid when a newspaper publishes once a week can't keep up. so facebook and there's just not a place like in my college town, yes, but that's not like the rural counties, no next-door. thing about it, , next-door is block by block, right? there's no density for that but that's like part one really think about the role of these platforms and whether we want these platforms to be the critical communication infrastructure and that i chose
the project i'm working on for the center for journalism and liberty with open markets like oh, my gosh what does this mean for profit platforms? serving as a lifeblood for information for those people are not maybe necessarily connected to traditional forms of news. but i think there's a big assumption being made between the disconnected and the journalists were imagining, and a scholar of wisconsin talks about the ways in which journalists fail to really engage with the leader and narrative that are happening. there are always like in the unconnected people there somebody more connected, right? more connected person needs to be the person that journalist speaks out to get to the unconnected people. so the goal is not as binary as it may seem. i would also be wary of over presuming disconnection because
the disconnection may come from being connected and being mad at what is being seen, right? you are not seemed yourself represented. it's a really quick question and one we need to think more about. >> yeah. i mean, it reminds me of being an intern and doing covered in orlando with a newspaper, the local newspaper, was referred to as the orlando -- you know, such a reminder of the fact that you can have a press in a place but if the press, the precepts of the press and the value of it in the place are at odds with the culture of the place which it were in orlando. there were a lot of questions about from an evangelical christian community that i was embedded in orlando, a lot of
questions about like how should we treat the press? like they are secular. they don't quite share our religious values, and i've always sort of wondered what to do with that. there's an interesting question here from adam who asks about visual journalism versus traditional whitman journalism. adam says photojournalists are often by necessity more embedded in the community the report are often of necessity embedded. do you think we understand the role that visual platforms can play, photojournalism can play in representing a community in a different way from like either the boilerplate 600 word incremental news story or the long, beautiful magazine length narrative journalism? >> right. i mean, some of the most beautiful long magazine length journalism is a photo essays,
right? really pretty incredible in telling things that are textbased journalism or even documentary style are broadcast journalism can do. i think that it's a nice that adam sees photojournalists as being deeply embedded in communities because i'm not sure that's always the case. i think it really depends on the journalist. there's a story in the "l.a. times" kind of writing about their experiences but also the past of the "l.a. times" for journalists refuse a photojournalists refused to enter watts because he was scared, right? i think it really, really depends, right, and it's a really great question. we need to think more about. i think we're in the golden age of photojournalism and
illustration generally, and i think we really, like every time i go online i'm just astounded by like some beautiful drawing. those are conveying really important visual information with some of the choices compound existing stories. the "new york times" did a fix on education in role american all the photos are in black and white. start. it's all bad there, right? that's a choice, too. >> absolutely. i would say like one of the pleasures of a platform like tiktok is getting a window into totally different experience summer around the world and getting a bunch of different windows next to one another. i don't know that we figured out what to do with that power to link a bunch of different perspectives and also to go beyond what we can see just on the platform and figure out who is not here and how do we create
a window into their experience. we had a couple questions i wanted to sort of lightning round in here. one from virginia gucci who asked if we can speak to the issue of salaries in journalism at that contributes to journalists seeking work for larger organizations or in bigger cities? >> you follow that track, right, and i have left d.c. four it's not just journalism. if the academy, to make money work as a journalist who doesn't have a safety net, it's really hard, especially starting out. especially in some of these big cities. kind of the lower you are on the food chain the more precarious it is and if you can stick it out long enough maybe you can actually make a decent amount of money one day maybe but i do think people trying to work in bigger organizations because have healthcare plan and maybe pay them a little bit more,
yeah, absolutely that is determines who and where the work and live. it's something we need to think about. you know, what role my unionization plan, what role my transparency play, like journalists hold other news organizations, other institutions to be accountable for their salaries, but when the "washington post" went through and look up salaries doing kind of like please volunteer information, all the expected disparities that you saw, would expect, were present. cell phones are super important because you might find out the purse next use making ten grand more with the same profile and maybe it's because they are a duty, right? >> right. i'm going to throw in one more from tyson evans asked about the potential impact of the local journalism sustainability act or
about the possibility of government intervention more broadly. what do you think? i guess i will just volunteer one of the interesting -- i've always had this kind of funny little counterpoint to narratives of decline in local newspapers, and the one print newspaper i subscribe to, the plainview news, which comes from my partners hoped out of plainview minnesota but still some gets delivered to us in california, we subscribe to. i don't not gets delivered to us but one of the things that keeps the plainview alive is one of those implicit government subsidies public notices that appears in the paper every week. what do you think about the possibility that journalism, or that public government intervention could step in to
craft a different? >> i think one of the goals with open markets is to understand how to make news organizations more competitive within the marketplace so they can actually survive independently. sometimes the way through is by using existing legislation, an existing sort of power of the government and the executive branch to tear down some of those barriers. for me some of the ways of leveling all that is breaking down monopolies, whether that be the news chains that actually are being run by hedge funds and making terrible choices for local news but also obviously facebook and google and amazon, right? that's the first step for me quite frankly. after four years of donald trump i am extraordinarily soured on the idea of active expansions of
government subsidies for the news media. but i'm glad there are still believers out there. >> what did you come over the course of researching and reporting this book to think of as may be the healthiest way of sustaining and supporting journalism? and this may, we are three minutes until the top of the out hour so this may be your last question. >> i think one of the things i tried to double down on is there isn't a one-size-fits-all solution, and particularly when it comes to local news, like that is tied to geographically specific community. it may be that important news producers are not journalists at all unlike the whole system might be something else. so really happening in each place what does it look like to provide the kind of news people need to get with their daily lives, and what is it that professional journalists offer
that cannot be done by another news organization? like trying to come up with this measure of news resilience to understand the ability of anyone community to withstand the loss of local legacy, local media, i think that's one way. i'm still really convinced we can shift the flow of money in politics to shore up some partisan democrat alternative to some of the right-wing local press that we are seeing. nobody wants to take me up on that but can we just take some campaign donations and like funnel that to the local media? republicans already doing that in kind. >> well, this is, there's this whole sort of line of coverage, by the way should mention anonymous q&a points out -- [inaudible] even though they are in some cases one of the big income
streams that is propping up or making it possible to exist. there's this whole other line of questions that just opens up, and i wish that we could keep talking longer because the book is fascinating. it is filled with interesting both case studies and ideas for where we have come from where were headed. we could go on for hours talking about it. now just i will encourage folks to check it out, "news for the rich, white, and blue: how place and power distort american journalism" on sale at a bookstore near you. or at least online. nicky, thank you so much for this exchange and for the book. >> thank you so much for chatting with me about thanks to open markets. take care, everyone.