Alexander Sammon

Alexander Sammon is a staff writer at The American Prospect.

Recent Articles

A Public Option Might Be Journalism’s Last Best Hope

Democratic candidates are returning en masse to Great Society–era policies, which may also hold the key to rescuing the Fourth Estate.

That journalism is an industry in crisis is a fact that needs no repeating. Last week, the surprise shutdown announcements from both Pacific Standard (where I used to write until recently) and Governing magazine poured fuel on an already raging fire. The dozens of jobs lost at those two outlets merely add to a 2019 that has seen over 3,200 people lose jobs in media already, including some 2,400 journalists. Those numbers are relatively mild compared to recent years. In 2018, media companies announced an astonishing 15,474 cuts , some 11,878 coming from news organizations, with both local and national outlets like Vice culling their staff, the worst year to date in what’s been a brutal decade for the industry. Since 2008, newspaper newsroom employees have seen their ranks slashed by 47 percent. Stretching back further to 2000, some 65 percent of newspaper jobs have disappeared, a greater percentage decrease than that of coal mining jobs over the same period. All that has led to a...

When Cities Turn to Uber, Instead of Buses and Trains

Some money-losing transit districts shift to ridesharing—but the cost for that may prove even greater.

screen_shot_2017-07-19_at_4.28.52_pm.png It’s long been understood that ridesharing apps like Uber and Lyft may pose a threat to public transit. Despite those companies’ claim that they’re complementary to buses and trains, research has shown repeatedly that ridesharing does indeed siphon riders from municipal transportation. One such study from the University of Kentucky illustrates this dynamic starkly: For every year after ride-hailing companies enter an urban market, rail ridership falls by 1.3 percent, and bus ridership by 1.7 percent. Thirty-one of 35 major metropolitan areas in the United States lost public-transit passengers in 2017. Now, with many regional transit systems reeling and with Uber under the gun to increase revenues, the relationship between the transit systems and the apps is taking on new forms. Ridesharing apps are no longer just competing with public transit for customers, but assuming some operations of public-transit systems outright. With...

Beto or Not, Here Democrats Come in Texas

Talk has increased that Beto O’Rourke should end his presidential campaign to take on John Cornyn in a Senate race. Even if he doesn’t, Democrats have a shot to make gains in the Lone Star State.

Beto O’Rourke may have finally found his moment. Ever since the presidential aspirant rocketed to a national profile on the heels of his viral defense of Colin Kaepernick’s protest, the one-time foil to Ted Cruz has searched in vain for a similarly favorable media watershed. His presidential campaign has been known more for brooding blog posts and his “born to be in it” Vanity Fair cover story than its media savvy. When asked by a reporter this weekend if he thought there was anything President Trump could do to help heal the wounds of Saturday’s shooting in El Paso, part of O’Rourke’s erstwhile House district, he responded: “He’s been calling Mexican immigrants rapists and criminals. I don’t know, like, members of the press, what the fuck?” Later, this time withholding his belligerence towards the press, he told MSNBC that the “president’s open racism is an invitation to violence.” Compare that with...