How Horace Greeley Invented the Persona of the Crusading Journalist

The 19th-Century Publisher Made Reform-Minded, Opinion-Driven Journalism Commercially Viable

December 3, 1840, a Thursday. A bank president in New Jersey goes missing in broad daylight, leaving his office in New Brunswick around 10 a.m. He is never again seen alive. Some say he’s gone to Texas, others say Europe. There are no leads, one way or another, for six days. Then, an impecunious carpenter is seen with a “handsome gold watch,” “unusually flush with money,” boasting of newfound liberation from his mortgage. The trail leads to his home, down the steps into his cellar, under hastily laid floorboards, and …

TKTK | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Confused About Journalism’s Goals? You Must Be American

Reporters Here May Be Social Justice Warriors, Corporate Victims, or Targets—Or All of the Above

Journalists seemed to be heroic figures when they covered civil rights, poverty, pollution, the Vietnam War, and Watergate. But more recently that story has become confused.

Journalists are sometimes victims …

The Crisis of Fake News Isn’t News At All

Technological Change, Skepticism of Authority, and Relentless Politicization Have Always Undermined the Power of Facts

To be human is to have cognitive bias. And these human biases—and the institutions that benefit from promoting these biases—have fueled the current epidemic of fake news and the rejection …

Why Taxpayers Should Pay for Local News

Neither Wealthy Companies nor Philanthropists Have Communities’ Interests at Heart

Whose job it is to revive local journalism in California?

Our state’s elites have a clear, if dubious, answer to that question: themselves.

These days, wealthy people and companies consider restoring …

Why Two California Billionaires Should Buy Newspapers

Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk Could Launder Their Reputations—And Maybe Serve the Public

To: Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk
From: Joe Mathews
Re: Acquisition and Reputation

Have you two lost your minds?

Both of you are suffering through long-running, self-inflicted public relations crises. Mark, Facebook’s …

Why Americans Are Afraid to Talk to Reporters

They Fear Backlash From Their Neighbors, and Are Wary the Media Will Exploit Them

It’s been a landmark year for ordinary citizens in the news. Without the hurricane survivors, student protestors, mass shooting victims, and sexual abuse survivors who agreed to speak to reporters, …