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What Is Sustainable Journalism?

Integrating the Environmental, Social, and Economic Challenges of Journalism

Edited By Peter Berglez, Ulrika Olausson and Mart Ots

This edited volume, which elaborates on the idea and concept of sustainable journalism, is the result of a perceived lack of integral research approaches to journalism and sustainable development. Thirty years ago, in 1987, the Brundtland Report pointed out economic growth, social equality and environmental protection as the three main pillars of a sustainable development. These pillars are intertwined, interdependent, and need to be reconciled. However, usually, scholars interested in the business crisis of the media industry tend to leave the social and environmental dimensions of journalism aside, and vice versa. What Is Sustainable Journalism? is the first book that discusses and examines the economic, social and environmental challenges of professional journalism simultaneously. This unique book and fresh contribution to the discussion of the future of journalism assembles international expertise in all three fields, arguing for the necessity of integral research perspectives and for sustainable journalism as the key to long-term survival of professional journalism. The book is relevant for scholars and master’s students in media economy, media and communication, and environmental communication.


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Part Three: Economy in Focus


Economy in Focus p a r t t h r e e The 21st century has brought a perfect storm of disruption to news organizations in much of the world. Digital technologies and distribution networks enabled the creation of new content products, vastly increasing the competition for both audi- ences and advertisers faced by traditional news organizations. That competition has undercut the business models of for-profit news media and the rationale for state funding in some public-service media systems. So drastic have been bud- get and staff cuts in the news industry since 2000 that the sustainability of some journalism sectors, such as newspapers and local media, is in doubt (Nichols and McChesney 2010). More importantly, in many countries, traditional news organi- zations no longer have the resources to produce the kind of high-quality journal- ism that contributes to transparent government and economic development (Islam 2002; Mitchell and Matsa 2015; Mutter 2015; Sass 2015; Theim 2013). As a result, the issue of journalism sustainability—or media viability, as UNE- SCO and many others now term it1—has surfaced as an important concern for experts working on issues related to the future of journalism, democratic gover- nance, human rights, and economic development (Cauhapé-Cazaux and Kalathil 2015). Media viability is a concept generally understood to mean more than just media survival. Implied is that news media will not only survive but will have suf- ficient resources to produce high-quality, independent journalism2 that supports human and societal welfare. Despite the importance experts...

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