Posted on: March 16, 2019

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I recommend watching this 9-minute presentation by Sarah Kendzior in 2015 about her experience as a journalist in NYC in 2000 and how things changed. At the beginning, she was paid enough to rent an apartment in Astoria for $900 a month. By 2015, the same apartment rented for $2500 and her former job at the Daily News was now an internship that paid nothing. It's the first time I've heard the story told by someone who is not going on to say how tech needs to pay for the salaries of reporters. Her story is simple, compelling, and gives the problem of what to do to the listener. From here we can begin the discussion about how we proceed. Do we bet everything on finding a business model that returns journalism to the model that worked before the web? And if we do that, is that all we do? Is there no Plan B? No way to hedge against that not working? The truth is we need journalism. My job, as I see it, is to work on Plan B. Always have seen it that way. I'm not Craig Newmark or the Knights. I have no vast pile of money to pay to journalists to keep them employed. And even if I did, I think that's the wrong answer. I believe we need journalism to work. We all do. And I think it has to work better than it has worked before the web. My answer is not popular with journalists. They have a lot of power to shape the discussion, but journalism does not exist to serve them. It's for all of us.
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