JOURNALISM FROM THE OUTSIDE
The Failed Estate is a website devoted to observations about journalism and the media by someone who spent most of his working life as a journalist. It began in 2009 as a series of posts on the now defunct collective blog Larvatus Prodeo.
This site is not intended to be a Media Watch-style ‘gotcha’ enterprise in which the host skewers typos, malapropisms and barely disguised plagiarism. It’s more about the role of the media in a liberal democratic state and the pressures on the craft of journalism from the breakdown of established business models and the birth of new ones.
As implied by the title of this site, my view is that the media is increasingly failing its role as a representative of the people in relation to the powerful, instead becoming a mouthpiece for the powerful interests who dictate policy for their own interests.
Of course, there is still good, public-minded journalism being done, but this is often despite rather than because of the institutions that fund it. Indeed, more journalists now work outside the media than within it, often plying their trade in public relations, corporate communications or consulting.
I am one of them, having left the media to work in financial services in 2006. The common view of we refugees from those still in journalism is to say we have sold out to “the dark side”. But that notion is getting harder to defend when you consider how ready some journalists are to spin lines that suit proprietors’ commercial and ideological interests.
Besides, many of us who no longer make our living in journalism still think like journalists and still believe in the nobler aims of the profession/craft/trade, The plight of journalism is to a large extent a result of the plight of the media which funds it. So it needs those of us no longer dependent on the media to stand up for the role of an independent journalism devoted to accuracy, balance and fairness and defence of the public interest.