The ‘death’ of journalism – may its memory be a blessing

R.I.P. Journalism
R.I.P. Journalism . . . with "thanks" to ChatGPT. Image: CP

David Robie also blogs at Café Pacific

A snippet shared about the ChatGPT debate from one of the gurus of investigative journalism, Sheila Coronel, at New York’s Columbia School of Journalism. She reports on social media about a recent brief given by a student to ChatGPT: “Write an obituary for journalism.”

The less than 500-word result churned out by the chatbot was too close for comfort.

“It is with heavy heart that we must announce the passing of journalism, a once-vital industry that served as a cornerstone for democracy and truth-seeking around the world.

“Born in the early days of print media, journalism grew and evolved alongside society, providing a critical lens through which we could understand the events and people shaping our world. From the rise of the penny press in the 19th century to the advent of television news in the mid-20th century, journalism adapted to new technologies and mediums, but always remained committed to its fundamental purpose: informing the public and holding those in power accountable.

“However, in recent years, journalism has suffered from a slow and painful decline. The rise of social media and the internet brought about an era of ‘fake news’ and ‘alternative facts’, in which misinformation and propaganda could spread at lightning speed, unchecked by the traditional gatekeepers of the news media.

“At the same time, the business models that sustained journalism for centuries have been upended by the digital revolution, leading to widespread layoffs, consolidation, and a shrinking of newsrooms around the world. With fewer resources and less time to devote to in-depth reporting, many journalists have been forced to chase clicks and pageviews, prioritising sensationalism over substance.

“As journalism struggled to adapt to these new challenges, it became increasingly vulnerable to attacks from those in power who sought to undermine its credibility and diminish its role in society. From ‘enemy of the people’ to ‘fake news’, journalists have been demonised and dismissed by those who fear their power to expose corruption and hold the powerful accountable.

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“Despite these challenges, there were always glimmers of hope. Brave journalists continued to risk their lives and reputations to bring us the truth, even in the face of intimidation and violence. New and innovative models of journalism emerged, from nonprofit investigative outlets to community-driven reporting initiatives.

“But ultimately, these efforts proved insufficient to save journalism from its slow decline. Today, as we mourn its passing, we are left to grapple with the consequences of a world without a free and independent press. Without journalism, who will hold our leaders accountable? Who will bring us the stories that matter? Who will be the voice of the people?

“To the end, we must remember that journalism was not just an industry or a profession, but a vital pillar of our democracy and our collective humanity. Its passing leaves a void that cannot easily be filled, and a challenge that we must all work together to overcome. May its memory be a blessing, and may we never forget its enduring legacy of truth, justice and freedom.”

FACT CHECK: As Sheila Coronel notes, journalism is absolutely not dead. In fact, innovative models are emerging in the search for truth.


  1. A great many knowledge workers and members of the creative classes are terrified at how easily and cheaply they can be replaced by AI. And AI will only get better at their jobs.

    Apart from long-form investigative journalism, I wouldn’t miss most journalistic output.

    I’d say that the longer the form of journalism, the greater the chance of it being paid for in the future.

  2. I’m surprised that there is no mention of the ongoing obscene treatment of Julian Assange..and the murder of
    Shireen Abu Akleh

  3. There never is Lois.
    Journalists in the major news outlets are the Uncle Toms of modern life, dictating to us how we should most properly feel, they’ll denounce Assange and other whistleblowers like their jobs depend on it

  4. The person in charge of developing the algorithm will be the new “dictator”.
    The struggle for the regulation of the algorithm has commenced.

  5. “FACT CHECK: As Sheila Coronel notes, journalism is absolutely not dead. In fact, innovative models are emerging in the search for truth.”

    Yes look to many initiatives examples such as Martyn’s own “The Working Group” or “Breaking Points” individuals like Glenn Greenwald who with a much smaller staff, budget and time in the market easily compete with the existing ossified monoliths.

    The death of the (old) mainstream journalism is more to do with the severe erosion of public trust. Some of the reasons cited above, also the shift from more working class to a middle class urban profession, niche ideological capture, the downstream effect of chasing advertising dollars in the social media age and corruption that arises from preserving ‘access’ to the inner circles of politics and culture.

  6. Unfortunately, the majority of people still believe in the media, namely what can be called mainstream media. This is the single biggest problem in the world today.

    As for AI, that can swing Left or Right or any which way, depending upon which interests are running it. As such, it is something to be vary wary of.

  7. So much for AI

    All this system does is regurgitate a synthesis of what it has managed to trawl off the web.
    If it was *actually* intelligent it would tell us that mainstream journalists are the main purveyors of the fake news ( what in days of yore we called ‘lies’ )

  8. Regurgitating a synthesis of what was trawled off the internet (including media releases) is 95% of journalists’ writing..


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