A striking essay from the Brookings Institute goes into detail on some of the challenges facing journalism today. Authored by Bob Kaiser, former reporter and editor for The Washington Post, there are several points made in the essay that bear repeating.

First of all, news organizations need to figure out how to make money again. Like the Titanic, they donít turn fast and approaching revenue challenges are like icebergs waiting to sink them. These companies need to begin thinking out of the box, offering a value that people are willing to pay for. If they can earn paying customersí business, advertisers wonít be far behind.

Fragmented and disaggregated news leads to problems with journalistic integrity. News media agencies need to become arbiters of the truth again. Instead of trying to curry favor with their readers, they need to challenge them, tell them the ugly truth when necessary, and do the research to be sure that they are delivering on their promises.

News organizations have slashed budgets in an attempt to stay alive. In addition to finding ways to generate revenue, they will need to develop methods for aggregating and delivering user-generated content that can deliver local news on lower budgets. A key element to this process will be learning to analyze massive amounts of data and verify information automatically. This may be where new forms of robo-journalism come into play.

As Kaiser sums up, our democratic form of government relies on an informed voting population. The media needs to return to the status of trusted news arbiter and watchdog. A new form of journalism may be required to make that happen.