Ellen Hume, research director of the Center for Future Civic Media, discussed public media at prospect.org with Jessica Clark of American University, Kinsey Wilson of NPR, Rey Ramsey of One Economy, and Sascha Meinrath of the New America Foundation:
Ellen Hume: I totally disagree that there isn’t a vibrant investigative journalism role that’s being played. If you look at what local newspapers continue to do with their hands tied behind their backs, there are still people being exposed and going to jail. It’s popular to say that investigative journalism is dying, but it’s actually resurging in new ways in projects like ProPublica. Now, to say it’s all well and good and financed, I wouldn’t argue that. But I think that investigative work is really hard to do, and it’s hard to imagine it’s going to be done by flash mobs and that sort of thing. There is important investigative work that’s being done, and sometimes it takes an institution to do it.
But are we going to have radio stations and licenses? Or are we going to be taking our audio bits, posting them using cell phones and other devices onto Web platforms and accessing them in whatever stream we want—the way we do now with YouTube and other platforms? I think that the station is kind of history.