Indy journalism moving forward

From this course I’ve greatly expanded my knowledge of what separates independent media from the mainstream giants. The main themes of holding corporations and the government accountable, being transparent with one’s audience, and holding oneself accountable in the wake of controversy stand out as some of the major differences between the two. There’s also the monetary aspect, where an outlet’s source of revenue greatly determines how reliable they are as a whole.

Another major take-away has been the politicization of American media, in how other countries are mostly transparent with their biases, whereas American outlets follow this pretense of “centrism.” CNN follows a general trend of trying to remain in the center of all major issues by inviting guests from both sides of the aisle, but fail to ever truly get to the bottom of any major issue.

In preparation of an upcoming (fictional) independent media outlet pitch it’s important to take note of the most important aspects of any journalistic start-up.

  • Finding a niche market that is either being under-reported on, or that does not have any reporting done on it. If a possible market is waiting to be explored, find it and cover it.
  • Have more than one source of revenue. Depending on one source, like a corporation or wealthy backer, could spell disaster down the line in the form of that person/group controlling content.
  • Believe in the power of crowdsourcing. Once a loyal readership has been established an indy can possibly rely on them as a solid form of income while also keeping a steady base. This is seen in the cases of The Young Turks and DemocracyNow! amongst many others.
  • Exist on more than one platform. In this day and age consumers like content that is multi-platform in order to cater to different needs. Using TYT as an example, they have a website, a live stream on YouTube, and a subscriber-only podcast. This ensures viewers have access at all times to their content, which allows viewers to feel a sense of inclusiveness with what’s going on.

These are the main take-aways from both the readings and course discussions about the topic. While I am not currently sure how far my pitch will go in terms of application (as my long-term goal is to launch a start-up of my own one day), but the lessons I’ve learned from this course have definitely taught me much about what to expect of the industry going forward.

*List also inspired by this and this

 

Censorship across the map

 

One of the challenges that comes with being an independent, political blogger is that, if one’s story picks up enough attention, it’s the equivalent of painting a giant target on said blogger. In the case of journalist Matthew Lee, who one day in 2008 discovered that his website Inner City Press had disappeared from Google search results, experience censorship from the U.N. After posting several critical blog posts courtesy of numerous U.N. whistleblowers Lee became a major target for the U.N. He received the news that his website had been taken off of Google News in the form of an e-mail saying that his website violated policy.

As soon as he read it, Lee immediately suspected one thing: That someone at the UNDP had pressured Google into “de-listing” him from Google News — essentially preventing Inner City Press from being classified on Google News as a legitimate news source and from having its stories pop up when someone conducts a Google News search.

– Fox News

In time Google restored ICP’s status on search engines, but never revealed who had filed a complaint against the site due to “privacy concerns.” It is cases like this that speak volumes about the overall feeling of untrustworthiness that surrounds sites like Google. The amount of power it holds when it comes to which sites receive attention and clicks is massive, which also means its’ ability to silent and censor certain voices is also very powerful.

On Phakyul.com’s article titled “Dissident Chinese professor to sue Yahoo! and Google for erasing his name” a similar incident happened with former Chinese professor Guo Quan. Quan alleged that Chinese Yahoo and Google had blocked his name from search results after he founded a democratic opposition party.

He told The Times that he had now found that the Chinese Yahoo! site had also blocked his name and he planned to bring actions against both companies. Mr Guo said: “Since January 1 a lot of friends told me that websites with my name had been closed. They told me it’s impossible to search for my information on Google and Yahoo!”

– Guo Quan

After reading about this story I was immediately reminded of a similar situation where BBC visited an independent candidate in China’s 2016 election and the reporters were prevented from physically seeing and speaking to the person.

In both instances the force China’s one-party system manifested itself as a block against information against those they labeled as a threat. In the previous article Quan said that foreign companies like Google should not bend to the will of China as the internet should be free and open to everyone. In the case of the above video from BBC the reporter returned to the home of the candidate a week later after the election and, when asked a question about how she felt about being censored, refused to comment on it due to fear of increased backlash from the government.

Quan wrote in an open letter, “To make money, Google has become a servile Pekinese dog wagging its tail at the heels of the Chinese communists.”

This is not what the internet should be. Access to information should not be reliant on shadowy, government figures who block facts to protect their image. The suppression of political ideologies and criticisms of higher powers is not normal in any society and should no longer be tolerated or brushed aside. Search engines like Google and Yahoo need to be held accountable for their actions, but it is doubtful that that will truly happen. The most one can hope for as an independent journalist under attack is that other reporters will come to one’s aide and bring attention to the issue. After all nothing can change is no one knows about the issue.

Modern-day challenges with launching indy publications

Net neutrality is an issue that I tended to shy away from due to how complex the technological aspect of it all seems to be. While the logistics of it is something I still do not fully understand the following articles made it easier to process what exactly is going on.

Visualizing the process as a type of highway – with the division being those who can pay more being on a superhighway and those who can’t going through traffic – was introduced through a NY Daily News article titled “Gonzalez: FCC flip-flop could turn the internet into the superhighway of the rich”. Within the piece former FCC commissioner Michael Copps said, “This portends a future Internet where the 1% get to drive on the fast lane and the 99% are left in the slow lane.” The most interesting part of this statement to me was how it spoke volumes of how divisible every aspect of American culture has seemingly become. From the Internet to our taxes to availability of education there is such a significant push to create systems where the wealthy want to do nothing but accumulate wealth at the expense of those less fortunate, but I digress.

Net neutrality needs to be protected, or it spells disaster for many independent news outlets. Part of the appeal of indy media is how relatively simple it is for something to start one up. An internet signal and a domain name are all it takes to publish one’s thoughts to as wide of an audience as it so desires. However, if the net neutrality laws were to be destroyed, traffic to these sites would be practically non-existent. Big media companies like Amazon, Netflix, YouTube would be able to afford steep internet access fees, while the average website owner might not be able to risk such an investment. Therefore slow internet speeds could cause their downfall as consumers will likely grow tired of the inferior quality.

From BillMoyers.com “Why Independent Artists Should Care About Net Neutrality”  Astra Taylor discusses the deception behind the movement, “Artists have long been told that these companies would help liberate them from the grip of the old media system. Unfortunately, the leading tech firms increasingly resemble the legacy media many thought they would inevitably overthrow.”

And she’s right. These once basic, start-up companies are now carbon copies of legacy media outlets in that revenue is the ultimate motivation. Getting rid of net neutrality would only help them further generate profit from increased traffic as consumers turn away from independent sources, to the point where there are no other options to turn to.

Taylor also writes:

Unlike the old days when different mediums had discrete distribution channels, we are now utterly dependent on one network for everything: we read books and articles, watch television and films and listen to music online, just as we study, work and socialize there. The network underpinning all of this must be neutral and nondiscriminatory if we are to make good on the remarkable democratic potential of the Internet.

We live in a vastly different era than anyone has ever seen before. In such a globalized society there are several different platforms for entertainment making it harder for independent outlets to break into their specific market. Getting rid of net neutrality rules would make this process even more difficult to the point where we could see very little growth in terms of indy news media. In a news world where mainstream media markets more often than not sound the same based on their political leaning, I fear the reality of not having any alternate outlets.

Problems with U.S. public broadcasting

For me, learning about the inequalities concerning PBS’ broadcasting was mildly shocking. As an infrequent viewer of the channel I had always assumed there was a general sense of fairness and equality with their reporting due to the public-funded aspect of the company, but learning of the corporate ties was startling. In the interview with professor Cohen by The Real News  he discussed how the public funds go towards maintenance fees, while the corporate dollars dictate what is put on air.

While finding a solid figure on how much each person in the U.S. pays for public television and radio, Daily Kos set the figure at around $1.50 with a total overall budget of $445.5 million in 2014. The argument made by Cohen was that in certain other countries more money is dedicated to public media, but it’s important to note the differences in what type of content is being produced for the public. For many people in poor or rural areas PBS and NPR are the sole options when it comes to accessing educational content.

In 2012 when funding was up for debate during the election PBS chief executive Paula Kerger told CNN, “Stations in rural parts of the country, where their parts of the federal funding is 40, 50, 60 percent, those stations will go off the air.”

…the second argument is that public television tends to be more educational than what the private sector offers. As Kevin Zelnio details, only two other cable television networks—Nick Jr. and Disney Jr.—offer dedicated educational programming for children. “Other stations’ programming,” he notes, “does not even come close the educational value of these 2 stations and PBS.” For families that can’t afford cable, PBS is the sole option.

– “Why exactly should the government fund PBS?”, Washington Post

There needs to be a complete restructuring of power with these networks. In a video published by Reason.com (below) they made the argument that by removing government funding from PBS and NPR they would be able to make the transition to online-only content, following the models of Amazon Video, YouTube Red, and Hulu among others. This is a compelling counterpoint due to how government funding accounts for the maintenance side of all 1400 nationwide facilities.

 

However not all of the afflicted areas would have access to this online content. In poor and rural areas PBS might be the only for families who can’t afford other channels on cable. While the content for it’s harder-hitting shows has proven to be biased, it stills provides educational content for children and still manages to report the news to those who might not otherwise be exposed to it. For a public network to claim neutrality and equality with their content these findings are incredibly disheartening. Only providing biased content is not fair to anyone.

I’m not sure what the solution is for the issue of public media as all sides seem to have valid points, but the main consensus is that something needs to be done to ensure equal content. For a public network to truly be public there needs to be an increase in understanding how best to report news equally across the nation.

“Real journalism”: Part 2; Still not getting it

Mayhill Fowler’s, former Huffington Post blogger, impact on the 2008 election is a transparency issue in its’ finest form. In a previous post I discussed the debate over what constitutes a “real journalist” and with cases like this I find myself questioning whether anyone truly knows what that is. In 2008 Fowler reported on a comment that then-presential candidate Obama made against small-town voters during an event that was deemed “closed press.” She said she openly recorded the event and that other reporters were recording the event as well.

“And they fell through the Clinton administration, and the Bush administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are going to regenerate and they have not. And it’s not surprising, then, they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.”

Obama, April 2008

In the aforementioned LA Times article USC journalism professor Larry Pryor said:

“We have entered new territory and the rules are not all clear. You have to assume that everything is on the record. There’s no getting around that anymore.”

This particular quote stuck out to me because Pryor is correct, in this day and age everything is on the record through the spread of social media. However, in this case, with an event that was clearly labeled as closed to the press I do not fully understand why Fowler did what she did. On one hand she acted as a member of the press by openly recording Obama, but during the incident with Bill Clinton where she incited malicious comments he made against a “fellow” journalist, she claimed she was just an ordinary citizen.

“Of course he had no idea I was a journalist,” Fowler said by phone from her Oakland home, recalling her close encounter with Clinton for “Off the Bus,” a citizen journalism project hosted by the Huffington Post website. “He just thought we were all average, ordinary Americans who had come out to see him. And, of course, in one sense, that is what I am.”

– Mayhill Fowler, LA Times 

So there’s some confusion. How is it that one day all of the rights and privileges associated with journalism apply to someone one day, but don’t the next? Why are Fowler’s actions excusable when recording Obama at a closed press event, but not when attacking another journalist in a question directed at Clinton?

Being a journalist is giving up your title of “average, ordinary American,” in order to properly report on what’s going on. While in one sense your status as a citizen are still intact, you are now largely a part of something bigger and need to hold yourself accountable to the perks and risks that come with it. The actions you are taking can hold a tremendous amount of power, in this case can nearly change the tide of an entire election. While many things about journalism has shifted and changed with time, I believe one of the core tenants of being a journalist is, at least, knowing that you are a journalist. For some, it appears it’s still not that easy.

 

Reporting on YouTube Stars

After spending a few minutes scrolling to the bottom of my “Favorites” playlist on YouTube, I’ve discovered that I’ve been an active user on the site since at least early 2009. Despite it having been four years after their launch, I remember YouTube being the website of choice for many of my middle school classmates. Since then I’ve regularly visited the website and it is easily my preferred go-to spot for video entertainment.

With the launch of the YouTube Partner Program in December 2007 a new era began for YouTube in that users could now actually generate profits from the site through in-video advertisements. At the time I had no idea this was going on, but I still saw it’s effects on nearly every channel I frequented.

A channel called “Fred” run by Lucas Cruikshank partnered with Nickelodeon in 2012 to release both a movie and a one-season-long TV show after the success of his account. Vlogging YouTube family The Shaytards’ patriarch Shay Carl Butler co-founded Maker Studios, a production company created by Disney Studios aimed at giving YouTubers a more commercial platform for creating content. Ryan Higa, under the channel name “nigahiga,” has released numerous parody songs on iTunes, made multiple appearances in films, TV shows, and commercials, and is now planning to release a book in May 2017.

Having YouTube as a source of income allowed these creators to take their talents beyond the internet into the “real” world, introducing the concept of “YouTube stars” to the public. While many are not common household names, their high accessibility and online followings generate ratings and branding power that some TV stations can only dream of. The main appeal of these stars is that they are everyday people who make their content themselves and actually interact with their fanbases on a regular basis. Compared to the closed-off personas of elite celebrities they are able to generate loyal fanbases easily.

In an interview I conducted with computer science professor Nathan Prestopnik for the article “Against the clock: Students challenge typical gaming methods” he described this closeness perfectly:

“It’s like an alternative form of celebrity,” Prestopnik said. “The people on YouTube who do these streams are very ordinary. … They’re not super rich. They’re not super famous. So you get to feel like you know the person. They tell you about their lives, about what’s going on, what their dog is named. … That connection feels more real than it really is, but it’s powerful. A lot of people enjoy that kind of experience.”

To tie this in with the journalism world, an issue I commonly see with reporting on YouTube stars is the fascination with the monetary aspect of it all. PewDiePie, the most subscribed channel of all time with 54 million subscribers, only managed to draw headlines based on his yearly salary.  In this Forbes article coverage of popular YouTubers, like video gaming channels Markiplier and PewDiePie, was limited to how much they profited from their videos. In reality, YouTube is not just about the personal profit for many of the big names. It has become increasingly common for YouTubers to start holding charity drives where their supporters are encouraged to donate to their charity of choice. Recently Markiplier helped raise over $100k for LGBT rights, and in late March around $250k towards Charity:Water. In 2015 PewDiePie helped raised over $450k towards Charity:Water as well.

The main point is that the fascination over how these people make money is overused and, frankly, boring to read about. While the concept of YouTube-ing and being a YouTube/social media star is brand-new, I believe that if they’re being covered it should be for things more noteworthy than their salaries. Making money off of advertising is something many people and companies do every day, YouTubers simply found a new way to do it.

*Further reading: Here’s a very detailed year-by-year set of graphs that discuss the growth of YouTube channels from 2006 to the present. 

 

“Real” Journalism

In the readings for this week the main topic was clearly how the definition of journalism as well as what it means to define oneself as a journalist is changing constantly. The internet has drastically changed the way in which journalists can produce content making the concept of “traditional press” a vague concept. Bloggers and online publications have expanded the range of the field making it possible for your average citizen to now be considered a member of the press.

The article titled “Bloggers might be excluded from Oregon’s executive sessions” from The Oregonian author of political blog Loaded Orygun Mark Bunster was prevented from attending a Lake Oswego city council meeting after city councilors did not consider him a member of the news media. In response to backlash from the media community Lake Oswego enacted a revised media policy that strictly defined media organizations as “‘institutionalized,’ ‘well-established’ and producing at least 25 percent news content.”

Such strict limitations to “media” are harmful and restrictive in this new era of journalism. While it should be clear to everyone what the exact terms are for being a journalist and/or a member of the press/media, it should not be a matter of establishment in the industry. There are simply too many outlets nowadays for such restrictions to consistently hold up.

Another article we looked at for this week called “Senator’s Attempt to Define ‘Real Journalism’ Blasted By Journalists” brought the topic of shield laws into question and how they fit into debate as well. The main issue up for debate was the 2013 Senate argument over how to define a ‘journalist’.

“The world has changed. We’re very careful in this bill to distinguish journalists from those who shouldn’t be protected, WikiLeaks and all those, and we’ve ensured that,” said Senator Charles Schumer (D-N.Y). “But there are people who write and do real journalism, in different ways than we’re used to. They should not be excluded from this bill.”

Within the above quote I’ve bolded one of my personal favorite lines from the article as Schumer hit the nail on the head. The world of journalism is constantly changing, evolving, and re-inventing itself into forms the public has never seen before. To set the definition of this art form as a static, unchangeable constant is disrespectful to the hundreds of thousands of independent journalists who have been making history for centuries. Journalism is not meant to cater to the interests of the government, but reporters still deserve the protection of the law in order to do their jobs properly.

“It is dangerous to rely on only those sources the government deems worthy of protection,” said Nathan Fuller, writer for the Bradley Manning Support Network. “WikiLeaks is a serious news publication: it edits material and protects sources. Wikileaks has anonymous submissions because it knows its contacts don’t get protection.”

“Real journalists” are those who continue to seek and report the truth despite consistent pressures from everyone who doesn’t seem to understand what journalism really is.

Drawing lines between the political and the personal

Guest speaker William Jacobson’s visit to our class this past week put many things in perspective that I’ve been considering for some time now. While I was very interested in how he started up his conservative news website Legal Insurrection, I took a bit more interest in the initial response from his peers when he first launched the project as a blog.

As a law professor at Cornell University Jacobson said the idea for his blog came to fruition after debating with a more liberal friend of his before the 2008 election. After defending his vote for McCain-Palin the friend recommended starting a blog due to how eloquently he voiced his opinions and Jacobson launched Legal Insurrection shortly after. Starting up as a simple Google blog a few weeks before the 2008 election Jacobson said he had no experience with blogs or how to run and maintain one, but he still wanted to share his thoughts to whoever would listen. Something worth noting is how he did not use a pseudonym like many of his peers were doing at the time as the idea simply never occurred to him that he would need to protect his identity.

The blog picked up speed with time and acquired more readers, but with this increase in attention came a significant amount of backlash from the campus community at Cornell. As a mainly liberal campus Jacobson said his posts were met with public outcry to the point where a police detective was assigned to protect him during graduation that year. The resistance he was met with over a personal project was shocking to me, but I still wasn’t very surprised.

My main issue with this situation is how common it is now for this to happen especially in this day and age. On liberal campuses there is this increase in resistance to the exposure of opposing viewpoints not only in the classroom, but anywhere on campus. While I’m a firm believer that if a speaker or guest with a history of hate-filled rhetoric is invited to campus the students have every right to protest against their appearance, I have a harder time understanding doing such a thing when the person in question is a member of the campus community. In this case I believe Jacobson did not let his conservative beliefs alter how he taught his courses, nor do I believe he punished students who did not agree with the content he put on his blog. This means he must have been attacked due to his personal political beliefs, which I do not believe is fair. Having healthy discussions and arguments about politics are needed, but backlash that resulted in the need of a police presence at graduation for Jacobson’s safety is, frankly, ridiculous to me.

While I label myself as more on the liberal side of the spectrum and there are few, if any, points I agree with on Legal Insurrection, I would never feel the need to attack and berate Jacobson or his team over the content simply because it is from a conservative stance. I’ve noticed since this most recent election how being liberal and conservative mean much more than I imagine they did in the past. Being conservative is now essentially synonymous with being racist, sexist, anti-feminist, fascist, etc, and I can’t find it within me to find that fair in any way. One person does not a movement or ideology make.

I see the importance of exposing oneself to multiple viewpoints as there is no one right way to believe in/support anything. While I admit it is occasionally difficult to be that open and accepting of ideas, especially in this political climate, it’s still a valid move to make for many of us.

A few examples of how conservatism is treated on liberal campuses (1)(2)(3)

Gaps in music journalism coverage

Inspired by the content we’ve gone over the past few weeks I decided to look more into the type of journalism that most interests me: music journalism.

As I was deciding on which field to go into during my senior year of high school I looked at what interested me the most. Music, specifically reviewing and studying it, was the first thing that came to mind. However, since I hadn’t played an instrument since the 8th grade and couldn’t sing a note I figured writing about it would be just as great.

Now that I’ve become a more critical consumer of journalism it’s both interesting and disheartening to see how little solid music journalism coverage there is these days. Beyond Billboard, Fuse, and Pitchfork there’s not much left. This is likely due to the larger issue of music becoming so widely available that there is no longer a real need for consumers to read reviews before deciding on supporting an artist.

Prior to the introduction of mp3s and music-sharing softwares finding new music and artists was difficult. In a class I’m currently taking called “Music and the Media” taught by Peter Rothbart we have discussed the changing forms of music and how with the evolution of technology people have changed how they listen to it. It went from being a social activity to an individual one, from families sitting around listening to a phonograph to a college student plugging in headphones isolating themself from their surroundings.

With this change in the way people listen came a change in how they found out what to listen to. In an article titled “From weekly to weakly”  from The Guardian, journalist Fiona Sturges discusses this shift in consumption,

“Pop has become an extension of the entertainment industry and acquiescent music journalists have become its cheerleaders, content to stand on the sidelines rather then wade in and get their hands dirty.”

I agree with her sentiment entirely. If an artist reaches the Billboard Hot 100 chart they’ll never see a review below a 7 out of 10, and even if they did, what would it matter? A bad review won’t harm their ranking as most consumers are reading these reviews after already deciding on their opinion of the piece. It’s more beneficial for an outlet to write up glowing reviews to hopefully get noticed by the artist managers to possibly lead to an interview, than to piss them off by sharing how they really feel.

Further on in the previously mentioned article Sturges griped about this sentiment,

“Certainly, the market is now more competitive than ever with writers and editors less preoccupied with promoting quality music than trumping their rivals with big-name interviews. Nowadays everyone from the Daily Mail and the Sun to Marie Claire and heat magazine carries album reviews. You can’t switch on the television without finding some empty-headed pop star plugging an album.”

Indeed the market has also changed by more and more outlets including their own sections dedicated to music coverage. These “reviews” are more basic write-ups of what the songs sound like than any real analysis of content.

This cultural shift from caring about music quality to caring more about what the musician eats for breakfast has also dealt a serious blow to the industry. Former Billboard editorial director Bill Werdes wrote an open letter titled “Letter From the Editor: A Call to Focus on Music—For Music’s Sake,” that focused on what he perceived to be a lack in coverage quality.

It’s a sign of the times that celebrity trumps actual culture on TV. If Miley Cyrus cavorts with a foam finger, I’m a talking head on the topic for the next three months. If she does a superb job singing a great song like “Wrecking Ball,” producers start looking for B-roll of the Kardashians.

– Bill Werdes

Despite all standing in the way of proper music critique and journalism, I still believe there is hope for the market. As a consumer myself I’m tired of being spoon-fed popular music that someone somewhere got paid a lot of money to market properly. As a journalist I’m tired of seeing my soon-to-be peers stifle their real opinions on music so they don’t lose their jobs, or miss out on amazing interviews. The arts are just as important as any other aspect of popular culture and should be treated as such.

 

Finding inspiration in the unsung heroes of journalism

Prior to taking this course, I’ll be 100% honest, I did not know who Izzy Stone was beyond hearing his name around the Park school. Despite being a journalism major my knowledge of legendary journalists was unfortunately limited, but I now see it more as an opportunity to be fully inspired at this point in my life and career. That being said, and after reading about the man, Izzy Stone has quickly become a hero of mine.

Learning about Izzy’s work led me to consider the problem of independent journalists in history. They are often withheld from the spotlight because, at the time, they and their work were heavily criminalized. The work they were doing at the time had the power to take down top officials, corporations, businesses, even governments, and none of the mainstream/bigger publications wanted to risk their status and income by covering it.

In the case of George Seldes the work he and his colleagues carried out had the power to change the entire course of WWII, as explained below in an excerpt from Jeff Cohen and Norman Solomon’s post titled “Press Critic George Seldes Leaves a Legacy of Courage:”

Seldes and three colleagues secured an interview with Paul von Hindenburg, the German field marshal. Seldes asked what had ended the war. ”The American infantry in the Argonne won the war,” Hindenburg responded, and elaborated before breaking into sobs.

It was an enormous scoop. But allied military censors blocked Hindenburg’s admission, which he never repeated in public.

The story could have seriously undermined later Nazi claims that Germany had lost the war due to a ”stab in the back” by Jews and leftists. Seldes came to believe that the interview, if published, ”would have destroyed the main planks of the platform on which Hitler rose to power.” But the reporters involved ”did not think it worthwhile to give up our number-one positions in journalism” by disobeying military censors ”in order to be free to publish.”

JeffCohen.org

The unbelievable amount of courage and tenacity of journalists like Stone and Seldes is inspiring as they did not care who they offended with their work. Their primary responsibility was to the public and communicating the complete truth no matter what. With the power mainstream media holds, especially nowadays, finding the actual truth is more complicated than it should be. However, Stone’s legacy lives on in several publications, like The Intercept, who uphold his ultimate principle that everyone is lying.

Reporters should start from the presumption that powerful institutions are lying, rather than the presumption that they’re telling the truth.

The Intercept,Video: I.F. Stone’s One Weird Trick to Do Great Journalism

I am grateful to have been introduced to Stone’s work as it has greatly inspired me going forward. Sometimes the quality of mainstream reporting is discouraging in that there’s a lack of the honest muckraking that good journalism,in my opinion, should always have.

I look forward to continuing my research into Stone’s work by reading through his weeklys and looking more into the legacy he left behind. More journalists should do the same.