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Mike Daisey on 'The End of Journalism'

The storyteller returns to Philadelphia Theatre Company this week.
Mike Daisey comes to the Philadelphia Theatre Company this week. | Provided
Mike Daisey comes to the Philadelphia Theatre Company this week. Provided

Just in time for the one-year anniversary of the 2016 Presidential Election, monologist Mike Daisey returns to Philadelphia Theatre Company (PTC) for two politically-charged shows — “This is Not Normal” and “The End of Journalism” — from Nov. 9 through Nov. 11.

“Mike was the first person I called when we decided to change things up this year,” says Paige Price, producing artistic director of PTC. “His singular, bracing take on what is happening in our world becomes thoughtful, challenging, extemporaneous theatre and Philadelphians are ready for it.”

In “This is Not Normal,” Daisey explores the normalization of the Trump administration and how dangerous that is to our country.

“A human being is an engine for making things normal,” he says. “My ex’s mother was in Auschwitz and survived and had a perfectly normal life. Some people will say an experience like that could ruin your life but it doesn’t.  Human beings are able to adapt to situations they're in. The problem is when leaders use that to manipulate large groups of people.”

His second performance, “The End of Journalism,” explores why traditional journalism is “collapsing.”

“The end came about because of the internet. It creates opportunities for everyone to publish — the number of voices keep increasing. The internet also creates massive cost pressure for journalism,” he says. “Anyone can read a story from anywhere on the internet and it makes it hard [for media outlets] to make money.”

Another problem for the traditional media, according to Daisey, is that the idea of completely objective journalism is a myth.

“As long as the myth of purely objective journalism is allowed to prosper, traditional media is going to continue to decay. Acting as if you don’t have an opinion is crazy — because you do,” he says. “But traditional journalism is not ready to start admitting those things.”

For Daisey, good journalism can be defined as “a well told vivid human story that illuminates the human condition while informing one about things we believe to be true.”

“I’m not a journalist and I don’t know if that definition would hold water with you guys but that seems like a good definition,” he says.

If you go:
Mike Daisey
“The End of Journalism”
Friday, Nov. 10, 8 p.m.
Saturday, Nov. 11, 8 p.m.
“This is Not Normal”
Thursday, Nov. 9, 8 p.m. 
Saturday, Nov. 11, 3 p.m.
Philadelphia Theatre Company
Suzanne Roberts Theatre
480 S. Broad St.
philadelphiatheatrecompany.org