6th December 2016
This week, #LoveMyNewspaper has been trending on Twitter. As I read through a mix of people giving shout-outs to their local newspapers and 140 word statements on freedom of speech and press, what seemed to be the biggest trending topic was the media being Trump’s opponent, just as much as Clinton was during the presidential campaign.
It’s apparent that many Americans are still on a wave of negative emotion unleashed by Trump’s win - from fear and frustration to sadness and anger - and anxieties over Trump’s win have resulted in the form of “rage donations.” From PoPublica receiving three donations a minute versus their average 10 in a day, to the NY Times and the Wall Street Journal seeing massive subscription hikes, several traditional media outlets are reporting a swell in donations and boosts in their subscriptions.
As anti-Trump Americans (which accounts for more than half of those who voted) have revealed their strategy to fight back, there is a question on how newspapers themselves will fight back, and if the first amendment even has enough defence against unfettered executive power. As Trump’s campaign mocked journalists, banned press credentials, and blocked journalists from following him on Twitter, fighting back will be far more difficult in an environment in which newspaper companies are seeing their traditional sources of revenue dropping.
Within months of Trump being sworn in, the future of journalism for the next four years will be determined. So will this money generated from subscriptions be used to finance court battles? Or will a proliferation of “fake news” take over journalism? What can be stated with some certainty is that for a fearless press to exist in the future, it is going to require American’s check books and lawyers.
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