Be honest. When was the last time you picked up a physical newspaper? Better yet, what is a newspaper? John Oliver took a thoroughly harrowing look at the future of the newspaper industry on Sunday's Last Week Tonight, showing that the general public's steady refusal to pay for the results of journalists' hard work could very well destroy the viability of both print and digital outlets.
"[Newspapers] have been closing and downsizing for years and that affects all of us," Oliver reminded his audience Sunday. "Even if you only get your news from Facebook, Google, Twitter, or Arianna Huffington's Blockquote Junction and Book Excerpt Clearinghouse, those places are often repackaging the work of newspapers." In fact, Oliver was sure to praise the work of newspapers for allowing shows like Last Week Tonight to exist in the first place.
"The media is a food chain that would fall apart without local newspapers," Oliver said. "If journalists are constantly required to write, edit, shoot videos, and tweet, mistakes are going to get made." Additionally, Oliver noted, corruption can be inspired by the higher ups' decision to chase clicks instead of true journalism. "Publishers are desperate," Oliver said. "No one seems to have a perfect plan."
But who's really to blame? Well, you. Me. All of us. "The longer that we get something for free, the less willing we are to pay for it," Oliver said. "And I'm talking to you, the person watching this segment on YouTube using the WiFi from the coffee shop underneath your apartment." Damn. Busted.