Opinion | We need policy solutions to address the collapse of the media industry


It has been less than four months, and 2024 has already been a rough year for the media industry. Vice Media laid off several hundred workers. Buzzfeed, The Wall Street JournalSports Illustrated, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times and many others have made similar moves. Local outlets also continue to be hit, with outlets like the Long Beach Post making massive cuts to its newsroom. 

As anyone following the industry recognizes, this trend isn’t new. A recent study from Northwestern’s Local News Initiative summarized what’s happened in the last two decades: A third of U.S. newspapers have closed down altogether, resulting in 43,000 total jobs lost at all levels of journalism.

It might seem that the easy and obvious answer for journalism is to reinvent its business model. For the last few decades, news innovators at all levels have been trying exactly that. It is well past time to recognize that something more fundamental needs to change. Specifically, journalism should be protected against the extremes of market unpredictability altogether — as many other sectors already are.

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Jim Fallows is an author, journalist and former White House speechwriter. Jonathan D. Cohen is the Joan and Irwin Jacobs Senior Program Officer for American Institutions, Society, and the Public Good at the American Academy of Arts & Sciences.