If anything good has come out of Michael Flynn's resignation from the Trump administration, it is that this situation has proved that as much as the White House has tried to control who gets a voice in the briefing room, they can't put a damper on the tenacity of investigative reporters. And if you don't want to be spoon fed fake news on the daily for the next four years, these news organizations deserve your support.
On Monday night, Flynn resigned as national security adviser, after a story broke last Friday that alleged that Flynn had communicated with Russia about lifting sanctions on the country before Trump took office. The Washington Post story cited nine anonymous sources. Through government leaks and dogged reporting, it built a compelling case of wrongdoing against the retired three-star general, who because of the accusations was forced to step down after only 24 days in the position,
CNN's Brian Stelter cheered the reporting on Tuesday, calling it a "big moment for investigative journalism."
I have been a New York Times subscriber for almost a year, and an evergreen donor to public radio for almost two years. And today, I have decided to subscribe to the Washington Post, because if we don't want the White House to control the narrative, we need to be willing to support the news outlets we feel are doing great work. And with this Flynn story, the Washington Post did phenomenal work. My decision to throw my financial support behind the news organizations is only emboldened by seeing what these reporters are able to accomplish, even while facing a blatantly contentious White House.
I know the cost of good reporting. As a former reporter at a small community newspaper group, I covered a city of 36,000 with limited resources at my disposal. Between just myself and my editor, we needed to cover city and state government, public utilities, a school district, a failing hospital and the many struggles facing residents and businesses rebuilding after the devastation of Hurricane Sandy. We worked hard to dig deep into complex issues facing the community, but lengthily-researched investigative pieces take time, and often fall on the back burner to more pressing, timely news when resources are short.
I have felt the very real effects on a newsroom of not having enough financial support at that local level. Many may think that papers like the New York Times and Washington Post are so large that they must have all the money in the world from advertisers, and your subscription dollars won't matter. But for the New York Times, last year while print advertising revenue fell, digital subscriptions soared. In November, the company reported that it had added 116,000 new digital subscriptions in it's third quarter, bring the total to 1.3 million. In that same quarter, digital ad sales increased by 21 percent, helping buoy the company. The day after the election, the Wall Street Journal reported a 300 percent increase in new subscribers.
More subscribers will continue to allow for more quality journalism. To continue doing this important reporting, these journalists need to feel supported by their companies to take the time to do this investigative work right. And in my experience, publishers are most generous to reporters when the company is financially stable. In producing the Flynn story, and many others throughout the election and transition, these outlets have shown their commitment to digging deep and doing the legwork to get the story that's below the surface. And that is precisely the type of journalism that needs supporting under this administration.
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer, Kellyanne Conway and Donald Trump himself have been caught perpetuating untruths in the media. The White House has not veiled their attempts at smearing the media and supporting "alternative facts" that fit their agenda. But with your support, news outlets with integrity and grit will continue to make sure the actual facts are presented alongside the alternative one