8. Opinion sections become battlegrounds
Journalists at The Wall Street Journal and the New York Times are urging their bosses to re-evaluate how their opinion sections operate after a slew of controversies in recent months, Axios' Sara Fischer writes.
- Why it matters: In print, opinion pieces were physically segregated from the rest of the paper in a way that they aren't online, making it harder for readers to differentiate.
A group of 280 journalists at The Journal and Dow Jones sent a letter to the paper's publisher yesterday asking for clearer differentiation between news and opinion content online, The Journal reports.
Opinion-page controversies have also flared at the Times, and, to an extent, The Washington Post:
- The Times faced an employee upheaval after its opinion section published a controversial piece in June by Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.).
- The Post was slammed by media critics last summer for publishing an opinion piece by Charlie Kirk, a conservative activist and Trump supporter.
Our thought bubble: These tensions have existed for years, but they have become amplified by an increasingly hyper-partisan news cycle driven by social media.
- Traditional newsrooms tried to draw clear boundaries between news and opinion with separate management structure and offices. News organizations that emerged during the digital era rarely publish editorials and more freely mix news and opinion.
The bottom line: Subscribers today want to support news organizations that reinforce their world views — and are quick to cancel their subscriptions when they're unhappy.