Newspapers across the US have been struggling for years due to falling ad revenue. And on his show Sunday night, Last Week Tonight host John Oliver highlighted a major culprit for it: you.
"A big part of the blame for this industry’s dire straits is on us and our unwillingness to pay for the work journalists produce," Oliver said. "We’ve just grown accustomed to getting our news for free. And the longer that we get something for free, the less willing we are to pay for it. And I’m talking to you, the person watching this segment on YouTube using the wifi from the coffee shop underneath your apartment. You’re killing us!"
Oliver added, "But sooner or later, we are either going to have to pay for journalism or we are all going to pay for it."
The result, which Oliver showcased in a short video, is a very grim future. Spoofing the Oscar-winning Spotlight, the video goes through the story of a local reporter who’s trying to break the news of Boston political corruption — only to be overshadowed by stories about a cat that looks like a raccoon ("the rac-cat") and hounded by his editor for not tweeting eight times a day. It’s not the future anyone wants, but it’s what we may end up with.