John Oliver, host of HBO’s Last Week Tonight, is one of the finest contemporary satirists working on television, and he’s just nailed one of the biggest problems with modern culture.
It’s no secret that print news outlets are disappearing at an exponential rate. There’s even a website where you can follow the steady disappearance of newspapers (a depressing prospect for any journalist).
In this focus on the current state of journalism, Oliver analyses (with his trademark acerbic wit) the manner in which publishers and newspapers have had to change to adapt to public demand. Unfortunately, in most cases, this doesn’t make for the most enlightening or enriching content, and that’s a dangerous development. The consistent reduction in demand for insightful, investigative reportage in favour of clickbait and throwaway material has resulted in a steep drop in worthwhile writing. With less of a demand and an increase in corporate control, the end could be on the horizon for journalism as we know it.
“It is clearly smart for newspapers to expand online, but the danger in doing that is the temptation to gravitate toward whatever gets the most clicks. The truth is, publishers are desperate. No one seems to have a perfect plan to keep newspapers afloat. Part of the blame of this industry’s dire straights is on us and our unwillingness to pay for the work journalists produce.”
Oliver’s full report can be seen below.