The 4th Estate is in need of repair

Academic danah boyd writes in depth about the state of news media in “The Messy Fourth Estate“. She thinks it’s not only a crisis of the business of news and trust in journalism but also more profound challenges that look more and more like a dangerous death spiral:

1) Your Worldview Is Being Weaponized

Contemporary propaganda isn’t about convincing someone to believe something, but convincing them to doubt what they think they know. And once people’s assumptions have come undone, who is going to pick them up and help them create a coherent worldview?

2) You Can’t Trust Abstractions

All around us, institutions are increasingly divorced from the community in which they operate, with often devastating costs…as fewer and fewer people know journalists, they trust the institution less and less

3) The Fourth Estate and Financialization Are Incompatible

if news companies have no assets to rely on (such as their now-sold real estate), they are fundamentally unstable and likely to engage in unhealthy business practices out of economic desperation.

She goes on the talk about remedies such as the need to create more resilience in the social fabric of society. Crucially, journalistic organisations need to stand back a little and empathize with different perspectives.