Week 14 Reflections

“We get the news we deserve.”

This quote from veteran journalist Nick Clooney really stood out to me in this week’s readings and discussions.

What news DO we deserve, as Americans in 2018? And what can/should we do to deserve better, and get better?

I happened upon a story last night on my Facebook newsfeed, from The London Times, and the comment section was filled with angry readers who refused to pay the subscription fee or article fee to be able to read the story. One (or more) reader even said, “If it’s posted on Facebook, it needs to be free.”

How did we get to a place where the general public thinks that all news should be free? People have paid for newspapers for as long as they’ve existed. At one time, newspapers were considered expensive and only the wealthy could afford them. Later, with the “penny press,” the general public could read the news, too – but still not for free.

I agree, in theory, that everyone should have access to the news so they can stay informed… free speech and fourth estate and all. BUT. Does that mean that it should be a free service? Just by becoming a free service, it would somehow have to be government funded, and isn’t that exactly what we’re trying to avoid?

I’m younger than most of the commenters I see on these Facebook stories, so it confuses me – how did Americans, especially those even older than myself, come to believe that they DESERVE free news? It appears they are slowly getting what they think they deserve – but it isn’t what we need, at all.

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