Superstar Meryl Streep, nominated for 20 Academy Awards, barged into the Committee to Protect Journalists dinner Nov. 15 to plead the case for journalists.

Streep, who was not on the program, called journalists “intrepid, underpaid, over-extended, trolled, and un-extolled, young and old, battered, bought and sold, hyper-alert crack-caffeine fiends.”

Meryl StreepMeryl Streep

“You’re ambitious, contrarian, fiery, dogged and determined B.S. detectives,” she added. “There has never been a more exciting, exhausting or, let’s face it,” dangerous time to be an investigative journalist, especially for women.”

She has more nominations than any other actor and is one of six who have won three or more Oscars for acting. She has also received 30 Golden Globe nominations, winning eight – more nominations and more competitive wins than any other actor.

Streep and husband Donald Gummer head the Silver Mountain Foundation for the Arts that supports numerous philanthropic causes, reports Inside Philanthropy.

President Barack Obama in 2010 awarded her the National Medal of Arts and in 2014 the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

CPJ Could Take Bigger U.S. Role

CPJ, backed by blue-chip companies and media, might, at the urging of Streep, focus more on the plight of journalists and journalism in the U.S.

It has a full-time staff of 27 in New York and 13 who are employed abroad. Revenues for the year ended Dec. 31, 2015, were $5,281,111. Net assets were $15,961,651. Joel Simon is executive director.

A study could be made of corporate, government and institutional press practices in the U.S. and suggestions made for improving relations.

The availability of news at no cost on the internet has caused major shrinkage in the media and in reporting jobs.

Newspaper Jobs Cut in Half

Nieman Lab, in a posting titled “Newsonomics—the Halving of America’s Daily Newsrooms,” said full-time journalist jobs at the nation’s 1,400 dailies fell from 55,000 in 2007 to 32,900 in 2016.

Mashable says newspapers lost half their jobs in the past 15 years while internet media and web search portals went from 67,000 in 2007 to 206,000 in 2016. 

CPJ focuses on persecution of journalists abroad, noting that 1,262 have been killed while doing their jobs since 1992. Many of the deaths were never investigated, much less prosecuted.

Most were in Middle East countries. Iraq led with 186 such deaths followed by Syria, 114, Algeria, 60, and Afghanistan, 32.

Seven journalists have been killed in the U.S. in the line of duty since 1992.

U.S. Press Under Pressure

U.S. journalism is under pressure on a number of fronts including the ongoing “war” that President Donald Trump is conducting against it. A substantial part of the public sympathizes with Trump on this.

The CPJ board, headed the past five years by Sandra Mims Rowe, former editor of The Oregonian, Portland, said last year that CPJ would make an unprecedented foray into U.S. “politics” because “A Trump presidency represents a threat to press freedom unknown in modern history.” Full text of the CPJ statement is here.

Rowe noted that CPJ “usually focuses on the fight for press freedoms overseas” but this year, “throughout the presidential campaign, Donald Trump relentlessly excoriated and mocked journalists, fostering a hostile environment…”