52 questions about the media and the Donald Trump presidency

Obama: We are now rooting for Trump's success
Obama: We are now rooting for Trump's success

Most journalists were convinced that Donald Trump would lose to Hillary Clinton. A day and a half later, a sense of shock still pervades newsrooms. To unpack what went wrong and what might happen next, I listed these 52 questions in Thursday morning's "Reliable Sources" newsletter about the media:

-- What do readers and viewers need right now? What should change about journalism in the weeks and months to come? What must NOT change?

-- How can journalists help bridge our national divide rather than deepen it? How much influence do we really have, anyway?

-- Was the election of Donald Trump a repudiation of the national media as well as other "elites?" If so, will the message be received?

-- How many "media elites" can honestly say they know Trump voters personally?

-- How many times have you asked yourself, today, "How does the other side feel?"

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-- Wednesday's protests are an opportunity for Trump. Will he rise to the occasion? Should he address the nation?

-- Did Wednesday's news coverage fully capture the fear that half the country is feeling? Conversely, were there too many cameras at Wednesday's night's anti-Trump protests, and too few cameras in the communities where voters are feeling newfound hope and optimism?

-- How will Trump's anti-media rhetoric translate to his administration? Will he target individual journalists? Will he withhold press credentials? Will he seek to loosen libel laws?

Looking back...

-- Why did most of us head into Tuesday night believing Hillary Clinton would win? That it wouldn't even be close in the electoral college? That it might be called by midnight?

-- How much of this was just a genuine mistake based on gnarly polls, how much of it was groupthink, how much of it was wishful thinking? What are the best remedies for "Acela corridor bias?"

-- What are the specific reasons why so many polls underestimated Trump's support? How long will it take to unpack this? What changes will be implemented?

-- Fact-checking myself: Was 2016 really the year of the fact-checker? Did it matter much at all?

-- Did newspaper investigations matter?

-- Did editorials matter?

-- Did the debates matter?

-- How did the gutting of local newsrooms affect the coverage of this race, particularly in the red states that determined the outcome?

-- What role did misinformation and "fake news" have on the outcome? Will Facebook do some soul-searching?

Looking forward...

-- How much cable news did Trump watch today? What did he learn from the coverage?

-- David Gergen asked on "CNN Tonight:" "Were we enablers of Donald Trump? Were we too negative toward him?"

-- Trust in media is already at pitifully low levels among Republicans. How much will it decline among Democrats who now blame the media for Trump's victory?

-- My wife asked: "Are you going to have the same people bloviate day in and day out?"

-- Scott Pelley asked on Wednesday's "CBS Evening News:" "Are we going to be OK?"

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-- Is the mainstreaming of alt-right media already underway? What are the consequences?

-- Will newsrooms rethink how much air time and ink was spent covering polls? Will the lessons be taken to heart? Or will the same mistakes be repeated four years from now?

-- Will candidates spend less $$$ on TV ads in the future? How will this affect television stations and networks?

-- Dylan Byers asked: "What is the guiding principle for news organizations in the Trump era? Do they want to challenge him when he goes against their notions of acceptable governance, or simply provide a record of his actions and behavior?"

-- What new media outlets will rise from these ashes? What will make these startups different from what exists today?

-- Andrew Beaujon asked on Twitter: "Is there any way that the next four years do not become a reporting bonanza for the ages?"


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