Newspapers and print journalism in the digital age have changed dramatically from their roots. Once the exclusive source of news for people across the world, newspapers today are confronting greater competition from more places than ever before. At the same time, there is growing concern that journalism on the internet is failing to uphold the basic values of journalism and that American democracy is increasingly at risk due to the lack of quality information.
At the heart of our analysis is the notion of the Fourth Estate, a term coined by Edmund Burke to describe how journalism acted as a fourth branch of government, holding public officials accountable and informing citizens of prominent issues. This mission has been at the heart of the journalistic enterprise for the past few centuries. The question today is whether new forms of news like social media and blogging represent a better form of the Fourth Estate, or whether the decline in print media is leading to a simultaneous decline in the robustness of this unofficial branch.
This website analyses the trends that are taking place today in journalism. We begin by looking at what the Fourth Estate is, and what it means for the practice of journalism. Next, we present a lengthy history of print journalism in America, to provide the context needed to understand the changes underway in the digital age. Third, we include an analysis of the economics of journalism, followed by an exploration of the effects of how journalism has been affected by the internet. Finally, we have conducted five interviews with journalists that are confronting the digital age themselves to give a real look at how the internet is changing the practice of journalism today.