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Journalism challenges in the digital age

On this edition of Your Call’s Media Roundtable, we discuss the root causes of news deserts and the recent layoffs that have hit the US media industry.

In recent months, there have been a growing wave of media closures and layoffs, including cuts at the Washington Post, Gannett, and NPR. In April, BuzzFeed announced it was shutting down its news department and in May, Vice Media filed for bankruptcy.

Journalists working for Gannett, the nation’s largest newspaper publisher, and the owner of more than 100 more local newspapers are planning a one-day strike on Monday.

Since 2004, weekday newspaper circulation in the United States has plummeted by 57 percent, according to the Pew Research Center. Between 2008 and 2019, the number of newsroom employees in the newspaper industry dropped by 51 percent.


Victor Pickard, professor of media policy and political economy at the University of Pennsylvania's Annenberg School for Communication, and author of Democracy Without Journalism? Confronting the Misinformation Society

Robert McChesney, professor emeritus at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, co-founder of Free Press, and author of several books including People Get Ready: The Fight Against a Jobless Economy and a Citizenless Democracy

Web Resources:

The Washington Post: Journalists at country’s largest newspaper chain will walk off the job

The Progressive: Revitalizing America’s News Deserts

Columbia Journalism Review: Victor Pickard on the layoffs at NPR, and how to better support public and local media

Columbia Journalism Review: The Local Journalism Initiative: a proposal to protect and extend democracy

Malihe Razazan is the senior producer of KALW's daily call-in program, Your Call.
Rose Aguilar has been the host of Your Call since 2006. She became a regular media roundtable guest in 2001. In 2019, the San Francisco Press Club named Your Call the best public affairs program. In 2017, The Nation named it the most valuable local radio show.