A row of newspaper dispensers in Seattle. 
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A row of newspaper dispensers in Seattle.

Is this the new normal for journalism?

People used to read the newspaper to understand what was happening in their world. How many people?

According to the Pew Research Center, in 1940 there were just over 40 million weekday newspaper readers in the U.S. By 201 7 that number dropped to 31 million readers, even as the country's population has more than doubled in that time.

Our world is changing rapidly. That includes how we process news and information. The journalism profession has adjusted to those changes in fits and starts.

It’s a harrowing tale of falling subscriptions, digital growing pains, declining advertising revenue, layoffs and the specter of a president of the United States who calls journalists “the enemy of the people.”

A group of local journalists got together recently to hash out the significance of these changes. They looked back on better days and to the future.

The panel included Seattle Times reporter Vianna Davila, The Stranger’s associate editor Eli Sanders, University of Washington Communications professor Matthew Powers, and Crosscut reporter Knute Berger.

Humanities Washington presented this Think & Drink event-- “Breaking News – The State of American Journalism”-- as part of their series Moment of Truth- Journalism and Democracy in the Age of Misinformation.

The discussion took place at Naked City Brewery in Greenwood on December 12. KUOW’s Sonya Harris recorded the conversation.

Listen to the full version below: