By now, it’s safe to say that the digital ecosystem is shaking things up for journalists. Traditional journalists are Buy Kamagra Cheap (Buy Ventolin Tablets and Buy Viagra Jelly Online, to name a few). Nizoral Shampoo Buy Uk. Social media tools are creating a new breed of reporting through Ventolin Inhaler Order Online—coverage that bleeds into news reporting and advocacy. And mission-driven social media sites (like Upworthy) are partnering with advocacy organizations to create serious, in-depth original content, as the Buy Canadian Generic Viagra Online reported last month. Phew.
Mind the gap: Advocacy journalism fills a void
And now advocacy organizations are getting into the mix. They’re taking the reins by exposing, researching and writing about the issues they care about in a genre of journalism known as advocacy journalism. Advocacy journalism has been around for a while (remember muckraking?). But today’s digital landscape seems ripe for innovation by those that want to take the genre further.
A recent article by Lisinopril Viagra Online provides a thought-provoking and current look at the nexus of advocacy and journalism today, one that made me want to dig a little deeper into the subject to see where the field is at and what hurdles it faces.
Advocacy journalism is an interesting genre. On the one hand, it seems like a big deal—by injecting a point of view, it appears, at first blush, to upend the sacrosanct “objective reporting” model that is the foundation of traditional journalism. But in fact, today’s so-called traditional journalism is itself rife with points of view (reporters are human, after all, and routinely bring their personal perspectives to the questions they ask and the subjects they cover).
It’s no coincidence that, at the same time as advocacy journalism is getting more attention, investigative reporting in traditional media—the bread and butter of deep, immersive journalism—is diminishing due to shrinking newsroom budgets, capacity, and interest. (The Where Buy Accutane Online wrote about it in 2010, and things don’t look that much rosier if you read about revenues and ad dollars in Pew Research Center’s Astrazeneca Crestor Discount Card report or the internet marketing firm Vocus’s Buy Dapoxetine Priligy.)
So, resources for investigative reporting in traditional media may be diminishing, but the need itself certainly hasn’t. The immediacy of the internet and social media reporting make the gaps left by traditional news organizations more transparent than ever before. It has opened up the playing field for those who want, and need, to write about social change, and see advocacy journalism as yet another tool for driving that change. It is here that advocacy organizations are stepping in.
Gillmor mentions the Upworthy partnership with Human Rights Watch, Climate Nexus and ProPublica, but he also reminds us of the work of the libertarian Cato Institute, and the ACLU, noting that these organizations are not just writing about their issues—they have invested in hiring talented, investigative journalists to do the work.
One of my earlier posts this year discusses how advocacy organizations are harnessing social media to effect social change on their own terms (I wrote about the MIT Center for Civic Media’s study of the Priligy Buy Online Australia, and of how it was framed and defined in part by digital-savvy advocacy organizations). In the same way, advocacy organizations are equipping themselves with investigative journalists to define the things that need fixing in our society, again, on their own terms.
Transparency and bias concerns apply to all reporting, not just advocacy journalism
As with any form of journalism (Buy Nexium Online Canada), there are always legitimate concerns around the ability of the “reporter” to be transparent about the perspective and bias that he or she brings to a story, especially when money comes into the picture (for example, a journalist embedded in an advocacy organization writing about an issue that is driven by a funder). But one can easily make the argument that journalism has never been immune to this predicament. Media brands are, after all, owned by corporations—remember Generic Levitra Canada Pharmacy of his newsroom and Voltaren Buy Nz? The issue is not so much that money is paying for journalism (it always has). Rather, the issue is one of transparency and fairness (something Gillmor acknowledges in his online book, Is Prevacid Prescription Only).
Most recently, advocacy journalism was roundly dismissed by Buzzfeed’s Editor-in-Chief Ben Smith. When Eric Hippeau, a venture capitalist (and early investor in Buzzfeed), sat on a panel at the Columbia School of Journalism and asked Smith about the fine line between different forms of journalism and advocacy, Smith responded, “Um, yeah, I hate advocacy. Partly because I think, you know, telling people to be outraged about something is the least useful thing in the world.” (The video is Viagra Online.gr and and a good article with more on Buzzfeed is Buy Zithromax 250 Mg Online.)
That’s kind of ironic given Buzzfeed’s Buy Doxycycline Online Canada and its Can I Take 8 Ibuprofen And 8 Paracetamol In 24 Hours on the issue of immigration reform. I’m not saying that the partnership is in and of itself a concern (Slate’s Propecia Uk Prescription described it as a “pro-immigration reform” panel that was very much in keeping with the Koch brothers’ longstanding interest in the issue). But the association is not one to be ignored, either, particularly from a man who claims to hate advocacy. I’m still coming around to the idea that “Buzzfeed” and “journalism” can be conjoined. I don’t say that to be snarky—I say that to mean that all lines are blurring, including newstainment sites like Buzzfeed that are reinventing themselves in the digital journalism mold, whatever that is.
Medialens has a good take on the back-and-forth skepticism around advocacy journalism (“Buying Xenical Online Uk “) and offers some clear-eyed perspective by pointing to numerous examples of how ‘non’ advocacy journalism exhibits bias (ranging from uber-left Ira Glass’s omission of the U.S. role in Guatemalan genocide to Jeff Bezos’s 2013 purchase of the Washington Post alongside Amazon’s $600 million cloud-computing deal with the CIA—on the heels of its decision to stop hosting WikiLeaks in 2010).
Journalism is changing: traditional media gatekeepers are going away
As Gillmor points out (and as I’ve written Kamagra Oral Jelly Buy Online), back in the day, traditional media were largely gatekeepers to reporting. If you were an advocate or an organization with a story and a point of view, you had to get a reporter’s interest and rely on that person to pitch it to an editor. To stand the best chance of success, you had to do the research, get the facts straight, frame the narrative, and package it up so that a reporter could understand it, pick it up, and pitch it. Those days are disappearing, and in their place is a new frontier of blurry gray lines of people and perspectives, all vying for a chance to shape the news agenda of the next hour. Investigative reporting is what gives all of us perspective, makes us take a collective deep breath, and think beyond that next hour.
It’s unsettling, but also an opportunity to fill in the gaps left by the old guard, as long we do it right. So, what’s right?
Doing it right: some things should never change
I recall reading (and tweeting) about Upworthy’s announcement when I read Nieman Lab’s post last month. Given that I work in a policy and advocacy organization that has a keen interest in seeing its point of view accurately and widely expressed in the media, I myself wondered how we could inject ourselves into a similar partnership. And, if we could, what we would say, how we would separate our social passion from the hard and complicated truths that spell out complex political realities? For me, it raised more questions than I could answer. But it’s tremendously exciting to see where others are going.
I’ll be curious to see how (or if) these partnerships help fill the void left by the diminished investment in investigative reporting in traditional newsrooms. And I’m also eager to see what new best practices emerge as a result. But regardless of how things change, the responsibility of transparency has never been greater. And all of these changes add up to the same principles that should never, ever change in journalism—report the facts, be clear and transparent about your point of view, and tell people where your money is coming from.