They have adapted individually to social networks and their challenges. The real problem is elsewhere. For the past fifteen years, we have seen a drastic reduction in the number of journalists. In the United States, their workforce has decreased by a quarter between 2008 and 2017. To this must be added precariousness: in USA, where the number of journalists has dropped since 2016, 25% of journalists are freelance or job seekers. Before considering whether a journalist is doing his job well or badly, we must consider the conditions under which he practices it. In smaller newsrooms there are fewer people to follow social movements, fewer specialized journalists, in economics for example, and more pressure on the shoulders of journalists, faced with the dictatorship of instantaneity. You should keep in touch with latest update news to know more.
Why is this question, not new, decisive today?
In the aftermath of the Second World War, AFP was created to end the monopoly of the a news agency, and the obligation – not always applied – to put in a newspaper the name of its owners, we supported the creation of media whose journalists and readers were shareholders. It was therefore considered that information was a common good which, because it served the public interest, had to be sheltered from State intervention and private interests. Now, today, which political leader puts this subject on the agenda? In the debate announced by Macron, there is no question of funding political life or the media.
How to analyze the phenomenon of yellow vests in this context?
Violence against journalists is a worrying symptom of the growing brutality of our public space. However, I do not think there is a rejection of the media as such. This is confirmed by the hearings of the public radios published this week, with historical records for USA. Obviously, many USA people are looking for reliable information. We must therefore think about how to restore the conditions for quality information with independent media, spaces for dialogue and confrontation of opinions.
You show that fact-checking is not enough to convince the public that information is false. At the time of the post-truth, what report to the truth should journalists build?
If a media that is mistrusted by opinion denies information in which a part of the population believes deeply, the effect is to reinforce distrust. In addition, alternative media and social media have an impact at least as big as traditional media. Journalists are no longer able to play their role of gatekeepers, the “gatekeepers of information”, to prioritize and select the information worthy of being known to the public. Today, when they try to do it, they are confronted with the challenge on social networks. But it’s not just about the Internet.