News organizations have made a concerted effort to bolster their coverage of the Trump administration.
From CNN's creation of a new investigative unit to Reuters revamping its White House approach, Donald Trump is having a deep impact on a free press.
“It’s not every day that a U.S. president calls journalists ‘among the most dishonest human beings on earth’ or that his chief strategist dubs the media ‘the opposition party,’” read a message to staff from Reuters editor-in-chief Steve Adler on Tuesday.
“It’s hardly surprising the air is thick with questions and theories about how to cover the new Administration.”
Adler spoke of the work Reuters has done in Turkey, Egypt, Iraq, Yemen, Thailand, China, Russia, the Philippines and Zimbabwe, for ideas on how to cover the Trump administration.
In short, Reuters is telling its reporters to cover the Trump administration the way they cover authoritarian governments.
“Give up on handouts and worry less about official access,” Adler added. “They were never all that valuable anyway. Our coverage of Iran has been outstanding, and we have virtually no official access. What we have are sources.”
The White House press office’s difficult job under Trump will likely lessen the significance of official releases. To date, contentious press briefings have revealed little — other than the fact that press secretary Sean Spicer is not in the inner circle. He plays defense; he doesn't shed much light on the inner workings of President Trump’s policies.
Post-election, CNN is tweaking its political coverage.
CNN is pulling reporters into a new investigative unit in which veteran writers Carl Bernstein and James Steele, both Pulitzer Prize winners, will serve as contributing editors and advise the team’s TV coverage. "CNN needs to be an organization that breaks news, not just an organization that covers breaking news or talks about breaking news on television," Andrew Morse, EVP of editorial for CNN/U.S. and GM of CNN digital worldwide, told NPR.
In addition, The New York Times,The Washington Post and Politico have expanded the size of their White House teams.
Such moves by major news outlets are both a function of President Trump's adversarial relationship with the media, as well as reflection of the industry's changing business model in a world dominated by digital and social media.