Robert Washburn

Robert Washburn

Professor of e-journalism Publisher of Consider This

Recent Posts

Holiday gift that everyone would appreciate — more local news

Holiday gift that everyone would appreciate — more local news

With the announcement by Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) that he will not be supporting President Biden ’s Build Back Better (BBB) legislation, its highly uncertain future lies ahead in the coming weeks. The prospects for reviving the downward curve for local journalism looks equally bleak, too. That’s because BBB […]
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More than 50 local newsrooms launched during the pandemic

More than 50 local newsrooms launched during the pandemic

The pandemic changed the news business and, in a lot of ways, not for the better. It accelerated layoffs . It hastened the end of more than 100 news organizations . It led a handful of newsrooms losing their actual newsrooms. But in some communities, the pandemic also clarified […]
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The news media: watchdogs prefer the paywalled garden

The news media: watchdogs prefer the paywalled garden

“What happens when journalism is everywhere?”, Mathew Ingram asked in 2011. Nine years and one Trump term later, the answer is here. A chapter from “Postjournalism and the death of newspapers” (2020). On November 15, 2011, soon after midnight, the New York riot police started a raid to evict […]
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Is the “journalism crisis” just a capitalism crisis?

Is the “journalism crisis” just a capitalism crisis?

The number of newspaper employees in U.S. newsrooms dropped by about half between 2008 and 2019, according to a report from Pew Research Center. Then the pandemic accelerated the damage. In response, the number of unions forming across newsrooms is exploding, alongside a transformation in the industry’s understanding of […]
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Rebuilding Local News

How government can help revitalize local journalism while preserving editorial independence Local news coverage is collapsing. Even before COVID-19, the number of reporters had declined 60 percent since 2000, a job decline similar in scale to the coal industry. Some 1,800 communities now have no local news outlet, and […]
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Bridging the Divide Between Local News and Online Platforms

Bridging the Divide Between Local News and Online Platforms

Download Bridging the Divide Between Local News and Online Platforms In 2021, the Credibility Coalition, in partnership with the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard convened a series of conversations aimed at establishing greater understanding between local news outlets and online platforms, and examining how local news is surfaced […]
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Small-market newspapers: the view from on the ground

Small-market newspapers: the view from on the ground

As recently as six years ago, Minnesota’s Cook County News-Herald employed seven full-time staff. Now, there are two working in the office, in addition to some remote help for advertising and layout from staff in New Jersey working on weekly assignments. In a county of 5,400, the paper has […]
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News Unchained: More Outlets Going Back to Local Ownership

News Unchained: More Outlets Going Back to Local Ownership

As chain consolidation brings new uncertainty to an already fluid news landscape, another trend is emerging in which local investors buy news outlets from large chains and seek to reverse what they see as decades of disinvestment. Sara April, whose firm Dirks, Van Essen & April brokers the sale […]
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Can Report for America build trust in local news? A view from two communities

Can Report for America build trust in local news? A view from two communities

Last June, Report for America (RFA) fellow Will Wright was looking for interviews in Eastern Kentucky. He was standing at a temporary health care clinic where hundreds of people were lining up to receive free medical and dental services offered by the United States Army. He decided to try […]
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Temperance, Tonics or Both – The Life and Times of Leticia Youmans and Lydia Pinkham

This is the story of Leticia Youmans. From her humble beginnings near the hamlet of Baltimore to her international travels on behalf of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union, her extraordinary life was lived during a drive for prohibition. It is a period of Canadian history we rarely explore. But like so many other historical figures, she deserves more than a superficial glance. I will attempt to make a case that Youmans’ life and her activism represent more significant social movements at that time – especially women’s suffrage. Continue Reading →

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