Read More, Watch More, Listen More: The Future of Journalism Is Up to You
Local news under siege. Reporters targeted for doing their jobs. Facts subject to debate. Lies spreading faster than truth. Quality journalism in peril. And the stakes — for our personal well-being, for the health of our democracy and for the world — are just beginning to be understood.
A challenge of this magnitude doesn’t have one easy fix. But here’s something that can help: More people spending more time with quality journalism.
Why? Put simply: The more time you spend with rigorous, fair sources of journalism, the more sustainable those news organizations become. Hand-wringing and bellyaching doesn’t protect great newspapers — or our democracy. Your eyeballs and dollars do.
Today, on World Press Freedom Day, we at The Times are joining with a broad range of media outlets from around the globe to stand up for the enduring power of journalism. Together, we are launching a campaign that seeks to remind people that a better informed world means a better world.
Of course, great journalism does more than inform. It inspires. It surprises. It entertains. It promotes understanding between people of different backgrounds and experiences. And it has the potential to expose wrongdoing and give voice to those who might otherwise be silenced.
Quality, independent journalism has long been the hallmark of The New York Times. But we’re not the only news organization that does great, important work. Today, we’re asking our audience not just to continue reading The Times; we’re asking them to pick up The Wall Street Journal. Or The Guardian. Or Le Monde. Or watch CNN. Or the BBC. Or listen to NPR. The list goes on.
These news organizations, and the dozens of others joining our campaign, all share a common commitment to original journalism that takes time, resources and expertise — a type of journalism that is increasingly endangered.
Convincing more people to spend more time with quality journalism is important for several reasons. The first is practical: Readers’ time drives the economics of media, whether it be in the form of subscriptions, ads or licensing fees. The time you spend with your outlets of choice supports their mission in a real, financial sense.
The second is civic: At The Times, our mission is to help people understand the world. The outlets joining the campaign are similarly devoted to increasing understanding, which can only come with time.
The third reason is more individual: The long-term personal growth that comes from being a better-informed citizen means that the time you invest in quality content is rarely wasted. And advances in visual journalism and storytelling technology mean that engaging with the news has never been easier.
Journalism, after all, is a relationship business. One in which readers, viewers and listeners understand that their time will be spent on true and worthwhile things. One in which journalists have the resources to do their best work. And one in which advertisers know they’ll reach real people and be surrounded by information that actually matters to them.
The news organizations joining this campaign are united in their commitment to excellence, but they’re diverse in many other respects. They’re based in different cities and countries, publish in different languages, express themselves in different formats, specialize in different beats. And while we all share common values, we often give our readers, viewers and listeners different perspectives on the same issues. That diversity is critical at a time when people are retreating to echo chambers that confirm biases and reinforce preconceived notions.
So, to everyone who cares about great journalism: Let’s use our time, attention and wallets to support and strengthen it — wherever it’s published. Let’s ensure a free, independent, enduring press. It’s in our hands.