If given the choice between reading about cats that look like raccoons or a reading about a local political race, which article would you most likely click? If you said cats, you're one of the people "Last Week Tonight" host John Oliver is addressing in a new video.
In the video posted on YouTube Sunday, he says the kind of investigative journalism we celebrate in award-winning movies like "Spotlight" and "All the President's Men" is becoming a thing of the past. (The video is not available to view beyond the US, but you can find it reuploaded, for instance here.)
Newspaper publishers are downsizing and shutting down. Those still in business are abandoning their traditional print protocol for a digital strategy that not only requires their journalists to write a certain quota of articles (or blog posts), but to promote their work via social media to help get clicks.
"It is clearly smart for newspapers to expand online, but the danger in doing that is the temptation to gravitate toward whatever gets the most clicks," Oliver warns. "The truth is, publishers are desperate. No one seems to have a perfect plan to keep newspapers afloat. Part of the blame of this industry's dire straits is on us and our unwillingness to pay for the work journalists produce."