Journalism has an Issue

Scott Douglas Jacobsen
4 min readFeb 23, 2024

I was talking to an old boss. He asked about the current state of international journalism. Certainly, there are those in better-situated positions to give more authoritative commentary on the developments over time.

However, as I have seen, there are some issues in the journalistic world on the national level, on the international front, and with the emergence of new technologies. When I decided to switch from pursuing individual differences in passion, IQ, and personality for writing and journalism, I entered one of the worst periods for it.

I may still be the king of interviewing high-IQ society members because I am still doing it after a decade or so, though. For outlets, everything has been declining in size because the transition from print to electronic is the issue. Electronic means subscribers rather than newspaper readers.

This implies a different form of income stream outside of advertisements. People are less willing to buy subscriptions to major publications. There is less income generation, meaning fewer jobs and fewer field jobs moreso.

While this transition happened, people cannot be paid. They can’t pay people for as much stuff. As well, we are entering a Type 1 Civilization. A global community with a different form of information consumption than in previous centuries. This shift may cause a change in the landscape of journalism from external factors.

For example, people go to social media. Algorithms can manipulate those messaging systems, though. The agglomeration of media. The team downsizing, and the like, these impact the quality of the reportage in spite of the quantity of reportage.

I was told by one woman who has been a many award-winning journalist and even an editor or writer for The New York Times for many years, at one point, that at one of the 6 or 7 schools for journalism in Canada has fewer students and graduates, and applicants, than many other years.

This raises a spectre of reduced field of reportage. Are we looking at a dying field and an entrance into what Musk calls a Town Square through X and other media? If so, sophisticated AI will mean easier manipulation of public opinion, in my opinion.

Because the nature of algorithms in the current incarnation of artificial intelligence systems is the nature of big data. Lots of data points provided by posts or tweets across platforms. They can be analyzed and used in nefarious ways, potentially. A public town square may be one of those ideas only appealing on paper.

Back to the song of this article, who is on the beat? Who is pursuing the stories? There may be fewer on each story. As one panel member noted at the 2023 Canadian Association of Journalists’s conference, there used to be way more people on the same story.

So, there was both a camaraderie, but also a competition on the same story and for the same sources of information. It became a driver for great news. What about now? Honestly, people at last year’s conference, like Amber Bracken.

I got the image of someone who gave up, however many, tens of thousands of dollars per year, to do work on leftist political issues because the journalism, the narrative building, was a passion for her. It was more than a job, than a profession. She was given a standing ovation after her presentation.

Outside of the financial arena and the use of mass social media as potential means of undermining democratic institutions, we have an internal issue within the journalistic landscape. That being, there aren’t many conservative media outlets. That’s a bias in the landscape.

And the ones that are conservative, they’re typically corporate. Corporate doesn’t mean conservative. It means for-profit. Nothing necessarily wrong with profit. However, profit as the primary driver can override truth as the primary driver, which is the goal of journalism and an important channel for democratic decision-making.

So, political affiliation-wise, we have the same issue as psychology. What has been termed in the psychological literature as WEIRD people, educated liberal types, or more precisely: Western, educated, industrialized, rich and democratic subpopulations, these fit more to some of my biases. That’s a problem. There should be people more unlike me, more non-kin sensibility-wise.

This leaves the landscape highly biased. Corporation-wise, though, at the same time, we have the same issue as Western societies generally: assaults on the rights of the populations by multinational corporations, too. For example, religion was the major fight in Academia at one point. Religion is decidedly lost, because institutions are secular.

The main fight is an ugly secular face in multinationals wrecking small-time politics, and politics is reliant on a diverse media landscape. If everyone looks different and thinks the same, then we have a problem, not in diversity but in monocular visions of the true meaning of diversity.

This is an argument for the protection of people like Lindsay Shepherd and other conservative people who have had a harder time. It’s an argument for diversification of the media landscape, financing of media more, and widening the definition of diversity in the media room.

--

--

Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Scott Douglas Jacobsen is the Founder of In-Sight Publishing. Jacobsen supports science and human rights. Website: www.in-sightpublishing.com