New Brunswick

'What isn't wrong with journalism today?' asks Dalton Camp lecturer

Whether it's attacks from politicians or dwindling revenue, journalism is under attack and has major problems, says a Columbia University journalism professor delivering the Dalton Camp lecture on Thursday.

Industry faces a 'crisis of funding,' but that's just the tip of the iceberg

'I think that we have to rethink how we get journalism back into communities at a local level,' says journalism professor Emily Bell. (Angela Weiss/AFP/Getty Images)

Whether it's attacks from politicians or dwindling revenue, journalism is under attack and has major problems, says a Columbia University journalism professor who is delivering the Dalton Camp lecture on Thursday.

"What isn't wrong with journalism today?" Emily Bell asked in an interview before giving the lecture at St. Thomas University.

Bell said the industry is facing a "crisis of funding" and while bailouts from multinational tech giants such as Facebook, Apple or Amazon may be tempting, these are not the answer.

"They're powerful organizations that have all kinds of other roles," said Bell.

"Those organizations cannot be relied on in perpetuity to deliver independent journalism unless they are in some way regulated or give up some control over the data and the money that attaches to news stories."

Bell said journalism is being attacked from many angles, including by U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin. Many in the public have been left to feel they can't trust news organizations.

"You only have to listen to the speeches of the American president or hear what Vladimir Putin is saying about the press or even in my own country the U.K.," said Bell.

She said trust issues are increased by the fact that anyone can now be a journalist, writing for blogs and on social media that may have little or no fact-checking policies.

Journalist and professor Emily Bell explains how independent and civic-minded journalism can survive in the modern world. She's giving the annual Dalton Camp lecture in journalism at St. Thomas University. 14:15

"I think that we have to rethink how we get journalism back into communities at a local level," she said.

"How we support it to be independent, and how we made sure that people can hear and see the kinds of information which they really need to."

The Dalton Camp Lecture, named for the Woodstock-born columnist and commentator, is delivered annually at STU. 

Past speakers have included BBC correspondent Lyse Doucet, New York Times columnist David Carr, and Al Jazeera's Mohamed Fahmy.

The lecture at 7 p.m. at the Kinsella Auditorium will be recorded for a future episode of the CBC Radio program Ideas.

With files from Information Morning Fredericton

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