“We’re in deep shit, folks, we really are.”
That’s how veteran Canadian-born broadcaster Keith Morrison assessed the state of journalism as he addressed the annual Jack Webster awards ceremonies Monday night in Vancouver.
Morrison, who was once a regular on CTV’s old Canada A.M. morning show, hosts the NBC Dateline murder mystery series. He was the keynote speaker at the awards, speaking to 800 B.C. journalists, public relations reps and media business people.
He said the attack on journalism began long before the Trump administration, and the public’s notion that the media are biased has grown over the years.
“If you’re not trusted any more there’s no percentage in keeping you,” he said. “That’s how people think of the media.”
Morrison, who spent much of his career as a reporter and news anchor, said he enjoys his work on murder-mystery TV, though he “had to be dragged into it.” It’s real journalism, where one story can take weeks or months to investigate and produce, he said.
It has the resources to do that because, unlike network news, murder mystery television “pays, and it makes money.”
With newsrooms being cut back, that kind of journalism isn’t as common as it used to be, he said. “How do we do it for politics that isn’t a shouting match?” he wondered.
Morrison said he likes to think that, 25 years from now, he’ll be speaking about the comeback of old-school investigative reporting.
“We have to figure out how to make that kind of journalism work again.”
— Mel Rothenburger