John Oliver: Why the future of journalism is bleak

John oliver journalism hbo finalYouTube/HBO‘Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.’

Print journalism hasn’t been doing well for a while. Ad sales have tanked and newsrooms continue to shrink. But on Sunday’s “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver,” we saw just how much we are affected by the loss of newspapers and their focus on hard-hitting stories. 

Oliver speculated how TV news would just be “Wolf Blitzer endlessly batting a ball of yarn around” without the print sources on which so much of cable news relies.

That includes “Last Week Tonight,” by the way. Oliver said that when outlets call the show “journalism,” it’s a “slap in the face to the actual journalists whose work we rely on.”

Then there are the more serious issues, like those reporters who cover local politics. The show cites a report that since 2003 there’s been a decline of 35% in full-time state house reporters. Meaning that the potential for unchecked government corruption is larger than ever before.

Or as Oliver puts it, “not having reporters at government meetings is like a teacher leaving her room of seventh graders to supervise themselves.”

One of the biggest movies of 2015 was “Spotlight,” which won the best picture Oscar for its look at the investigative journalism unit on the Boston Globe, which took down the widespread child sex abuse going on among Boston-area Roman Catholic priests.

Stick around for the end of the segment to see the trailer for a “Spotlight”-like movie that looks at a newspaper that’s more focused on traffic from cat videos and social media reach than hard-hitting stories.

Watch the full segment here:


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