Jeff Jarvis & Steven Waldman debate the hard questions facing the news media industry.


On February 4th, 2024, the president of Rebuild Local News and co-founder of Report for America, Steven Waldman, penned an op-ed for E&P Magazine entitled “In defense of (some) old media. Writing off legacy media will lead to bad public policy.”  In the very first sentence of the piece, Waldman took aim at the January 24th, 2024 article, “Is it time to give up on old news?which was penned and published by Jeff Jarvis, author and former professor and director of the Tow-Knight Center for Entrepreneurial Journalism at the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY. In the article, Jeff Jarvis stated, “Giving more money to old media is throwing good after bad.”

Jarvis stated, “The old news industry has failed at adapting to the internet and every one of their would-be saviors  —  from tablets to paywalls to programmatic ads to consolidation to billionnaires  —  has failed them. Hedge funds have bought up chains and papers, selling everything not bolted down, cutting every possible cost and taking every penny of cash flow home with them. The one thing the old companies are still investing in is lobbying.”

Within Waldman’s editorial, he countered by stating that he disagrees that it’s time to dispense with “legacy” or “old” media by writing, “First, even generalizing about 'old media' is absurd. That category includes about 7,000 local news entities of different shapes, sizes and ownership structures, including most Black and Hispanic newspapers.” Waldman also said, “So the real problem must be the big city dailies. Except in his piece, Jarvis (who is an old friend) noted that The Boston Globe, Minneapolis Star Tribune and Advance publications (Newhouse family) in Alabama ‘seem to be surviving or better.’ So ‘old media’ is pathetic ...  except for the ones that aren’t. And we should only invest in nonprofit media ... except for the for-profits we like.”

In this episode of “E&P Reports,” we bring together two well-known media experts, Steven Waldman and Jeff Jarvis, in one interview. These two gentlemen have publicly disagreed on major issues and have been getting the lion's share of exposure in representing the news media industry to the national press. They are becoming high-profile advocacy spokespeople on opposite sides of several current, significant legislative matters debated at state and federal levels.

Topics discussed include:

  • The reasons behind recent major media company layoffs (such as the LA Times, Newsweek and Sports Illustrated) and shutdowns (like the 10-month start-up to shuttering of the Messenger).
  • The impact of corporate and hedge fund newspaper ownership on local communities and what can or should be done to give others a chance to own these local titles.
  • Public media’s entrance into local newspaper ownership and how this may become the norm in the coming months.
  • Addressing the “hard questions” about current legislation and whether the government should or should not become involved in helping save legacy media.
  • And more.



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  • RamblerTM

    Mike, After listening to your video, I think several points were missed. The issue with the large tech companies is not with lower-cost advertising but with the ability to offer low-cost advertising because they can use content they did not create and/or pay to create. The tech companies have chosen a business model that relies on access to the products of an industry without purchasing the industry's products. I have no problem with a tech company developing a media organization instead of hiding behind "safe-harbor". I am also okay with Facebook no longer carrying news content. That action would move the responsibility and accountability back to the organizations creating the information.

    My wife and I started a community newspaper in the DFW area over 20 years ago. We changed the newspaper to a 501(c)3 on January 1, 2023. In June of last year, we had the intellectual properties of the Ozona Stockman donated to us because they were closing their doors within the week. I have the unique experience of running a newspaper with about 3500 people per square mile and a newspaper with about 1 person per square mile. I can honestly say that the more urban the community, the less important the newspaper.

    Monday, February 19 Report this