We’ve been having conversations on my Press Fellowship programme about what journalism should be like in a digital era. In thinking about different models, I remembered some of the astonishing stuff done by John Oliver in his TV show — for example his terrific exposé of the NCAA — and this programme about Edward Snowden and surveillance.
Most print journalists would probably not regard Oliver as a journalist, for a variety of reasons but mainly because he appears to mix fact and opinion so readily and powerfully. Well, he does mix them, but on the other hand he really makes people think. Witness the impact that his programme about Net Neutrality had. We don’t know how many of the four million public submissions received by the FCC were directly attributable to Oliver’s show, but I’m willing to bet that a lot of them were. And in the end the FCC bowed to that public pressure.