Democracy & Elections

The Lawfare Podcast: Can America Save the News?

Jen Patja, Evelyn Douek, Quinta Jurecic, Martha Minow
Thursday, July 8, 2021, 12:00 PM

Published by The Lawfare Institute
in Cooperation With

The news business in America is in crisis. Between 2008 and 2019, newspapers in the U.S. lost half of their newsroom employees. Journalism jobs cut during the pandemic number in the tens of thousands. Local news is suffering the most, with cutbacks across the country and many communities left without a reliable source of information for what’s going on in their area.

Why is this a crisis not just for journalists, but also for democracy?

In today’s episode of our Arbiters of Truth series on the online information ecosystem, Evelyn Douek and Quinta Jurecic turn to that question with Martha Minow, the 300th Anniversary University Professor at Harvard Law School. She’s written a new book, titled “Saving the News: Why the Constitution Calls for Government Action to Protect Freedom of Speech.” How should we understand the crisis facing American newsrooms? How has the U.S. government historically used its power to create a hospitable environment for news--and how should that history shape our understanding of what interventions are possible today? And what role does the First Amendment play in all this?


Jen Patja is the editor and producer of The Lawfare Podcast and Rational Security. She currently serves as the Co-Executive Director of Virginia Civics, a nonprofit organization that empowers the next generation of leaders in Virginia by promoting constitutional literacy, critical thinking, and civic engagement. She is the former Deputy Director of the Robert H. Smith Center for the Constitution at James Madison's Montpelier and has been a freelance editor for over 20 years.
Evelyn Douek is an Assistant Professor of Law at Stanford Law School and Senior Research Fellow at the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University. She holds a doctorate from Harvard Law School on the topic of private and public regulation of online speech. Prior to attending HLS, Evelyn was an Associate (clerk) to the Honourable Chief Justice Susan Kiefel of the High Court of Australia. She received her LL.B. from UNSW Sydney, where she was Executive Editor of the UNSW Law Journal.
Quinta Jurecic is a fellow in Governance Studies at the Brookings Institution and a senior editor at Lawfare. She previously served as Lawfare's managing editor and as an editorial writer for the Washington Post.
Martha Minow has taught at Harvard Law School since 1981 and has a forthcoming book, Saving the News: Why the Constitution Calls for Government Action to Preserve the Freedom of Speech (Oxford University Press).

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