The term “objectivity” is itself subjective. If you were to poll the public about their desire and demand for “objective” journalism, many might opine that reporters should stick to the “who, what, when, where and why” model — sans the “why” part. But the “why” is, after all, the essential context of the story, and without it, the public is less informed and not as inclined to read the bare-bones carcass of the story that remains. Of course, contemporary conversations about objectivity and fairness in reporting are much more nuanced and complex.
In the early days of the internet, a few early adopters were starting careers in the news industry and seeing opportunities in digital that their bosses did not fully understand. Today, digital pioneers have become the bosses. Those ahead of the digital movement — like Conan Gallaty, Lisa DeSisto, Grant Moise and Robert Granfeldt — saw their careers take shape in ways they never expected.
Louie Mullen owns over 30 weekly newspapers in small towns across seven states. “Every newspaper is run as an individual. It is a representation of that community. It’s more of an old-school style of running newspapers,” said Mullen, who is buying community newspapers across the country. And, his ownership style is hands-off.
Gaps in news coverage are spreading across the country. But even with this challenge, newsrooms are finding resources and innovative ways to save or even revive their storytelling capabilities. One example is partnerships between universities and media companies. This trend is especially prevalent in local newspapers, which are facing increasing newsroom layoffs as they struggle to survive.
Ryan Sorrell and his team at The Kansas City Defender rely on two methods to reach young people. First, they know that each social media platform has a different ethos, so they personalize content for each brand. Second, they have a broad content mix, blending hard news and culture stories with headlines such as “10 Best Black-Owned Restaurants.”