A Google search for the term "journalism crisis" in Spanish brings up more than 24 million results; in English, this figure rises to nearly 80 million. The phenomenon has been widely documented and addressed.
Seemingly every journalism conference has a panel with experts pontificating about the "future" of the journalism profession – and when the problems facing media are not being discussed, it seems we are forever looking for a "silver bullet" that will solve the problem. Each year, there is another new technology that will 'save' journalism, from virtual reality to chatbots to blockchain. Despite the many discussions on these topics, no single solution has emerged.
Despite the gloomy outlook that prevails around the world, in Latin America and Spain there are some positive trends, although even these are not without their challenges.
In 2017, SembraMedia published Inflection Point, an in-depth report about digital native media in Colombia, Argentina, Brazil and Mexico. The research revealed something that is happening region-wide: new digital media are growing, and they have managed to sustain themselves over time, diversify their income, and forge close connections with their audiences. However, many have also paid a price for their editorial independence. Nearly 50% of media entrepreneurs interviewed by SembraMedia report they have suffered physical and virtual and attacks.
Despite the obstacles, digital native media have had significant impact in their communities and have received prestigious awards, including the Gabo Award from the Gabriel García Márquez Foundation for the New Ibero-American Journalism (FNPI for its initials in Spanish).
However, while the “crisis in journalism” has been well-documented, especially as it affects news distribution and the relationship media have with their audience, there is a journalism institution that has largely remained invisible, or at least in a secondary role. Universities – in particular schools of communication and journalism – have resisted changing the way they teach in the midst of this transformation, even as pressures have mounted on the (post)industry media, and upon academia itself. What type of transformations are occurring, and how does what is being taught in journalism classes show up in newsrooms?