I have a bad case of news blues. Journalism is fast becoming a vast wasteland. Newsrooms across the land are hollowed out, or in many cases shuttered. And the internet, which was supposed to correct all this, has thus far demonstrably failed the task. I have written many times in this space about the consequences of journalism’s near-collapse for our democracy. I write again now because this is the issue that continues to drive me. Less journalism, less deep-dive investigative reporting, less real news can lead only to less informed citizens. History tells us of the cost societies pay for such a vacuum. Our country has no guarantees for its future; whether it is a successful or a failed future depends upon the choices we make. Self-government depends upon voters who know what’s going on. So the first step is for more of us to recognize the challenge. The second step is to broaden our recognition of the challenge to a national audience, to take this nascent discussion across the land and make it an issue of serious citizen concern. And then comes the really hard part: coming up with workable solutions.
[Michael Copps served as a commissioner on the Federal Communications Commission from May 2001 to December 2011 and was the FCC's Acting Chairman from January to June 2009. In 2012, former Commissioner Copps joined Common Cause to lead its Media and Democracy Reform Initiative.]