Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Columnist: We must fight back in the war on journalism

Dan Gillmor
Journalism is under attack from President Trump and some of his allies, and journalists are speaking out, but it's not enough, author and Arizona State University journalism professor Dan Gillmor writes for Medium.

"Here’s a plea to my friends who work in journalism’s non-commentary operations: If you don’t follow up on this collective complaining with real muscle, your organizations will have demonstrated the kind of weakness that Trump and his supporters are convinced — maybe correctly — rests at the core of the craft," Gillmor writes. "You — and probably free speech — can’t play constant defense. You can’t win if you rise to Trump’s bait and start calling him an enemy. And as my friend Jay Rosen said the other day, you need to go way, way beyond Washington Post Editor Marty Baron’s famous but too-facile admonition: 'We’re not at war. We’re at work.'"

Journalists must fight not against Trump, but for a free press and freedom of expression, Gillmor writes. One way they can do that is to partner with other news outlets to produce bigger pieces than one alone would be capable of. Another is to dig deep into topics to provide critical context for topics so that readers can understand the big picture.

"The kinds of collaborations I’m talking about would be difficult to set up and manage, to put it mildly. Certainly the international consortium proves it can be done brilliantly on certain kinds of stories. Can it be done right on the bigger and broader ones? Why not at least try?" Gillmor writes. "Do this right, and you’ll achieve something we all need right now: an affirmation of why journalism still matters."

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