John Oliver of HBO’s “Last Week Tonight” takes aim at the newspaper industry and lambasts the corporate owners like Tronc (formerly Tribune Publishing).
It includes a hilarious parody of the movie “Spotlight,” featuring a reporter who desperately tries to report a scandal at city hall but is impeded by his own paper’s obsession with social media and clickbait.
Maybe the best scene in the movie parody was when the paper’s editor, played by Jason Sudeikis, tells the reporter, played by Bobby Cannavale, that he’s not interested in his corruption story. “I’m just not sure what kind of clicks were going to get on that,” Sudeikis says, before green-lighting a story pitch from Rose Byrne about a cat that looks like a raccoon. When Cannavale protests, Sudeikis delivers the ugly truth about the state of journalism today.
“Technically, you don’t work for a newspaper anymore,” Sudeikis says. “You work at a multi-platform, content generation distribution network now.”
Between 2004 and 2014, online ad revenue generated $2 billion in profit for newspapers, Oliver said, while print ad revenue fell by $30 billion. “That’s like finding a lucky penny on the sidewalk on the same day your bank account is drained by a 16-year-old Belgian hacker,” Oliver joked.