HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Main » Editorials & Other Articles (Forum) » The crisis in local journ...

Mon Apr 16, 2018, 01:00 PM

The crisis in local journalism has become a crisis of democracy

Worth burning a free WaPo view for the month.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-crisis-in-journalism-has-become-a-crisis-of-democracy/2018/04/11/a908d5fc-2d64-11e8-8688-e053ba58f1e4_story.html?utm_term=.4c147b06b53a



The crisis in local journalism has become a crisis of democracy

By Steven Waldman and Charles Sennott April 11
Steven Waldman is president and co-founder of Report for America. Charles Sennott, co-founder of RFA, is chief executive of the GroundTruth Project.

Shortly after starting as a newspaper reporter in the coal-fields region of eastern Kentucky, Will Wright wrote an alarming article about how residents hadn’t had running water for five days. One woman talked about how her husband’s grandfather could no longer bathe; another said the water hadn’t been safe for a long time: “You turn it on, and it smells like bleach.”

One month later, the man overseeing the troubled water system in that part of Appalachia abruptly retired. Then the state “found” $3.4 million to help fix the problem.

The articles Wright wrote this year for the Lexington Herald-Leader were not months-long investigations. He attended community meetings in this usually under-covered part of the state and interviewed residents. His articles illustrate an often neglected point about journalism today: The key solution is not technology. It’s having more reporters — a lot of them — on the scene.

Journalism faces many problems. Trust in the press is declining. Americans increasingly turn to partisan sources for information.

The editorial staff at the Denver Post took dramatic steps this past weekend to draw attention to the crisis in community journalism. After another round of severe layoffs were announced, the staff published an attack on its owners, arguing that the private investment firm that controls its newspaper chain had no interest in supporting local journalism. An editorial titled “News Matters: Colo. should demand the newspaper it deserves” included a photo of the staff shortly after it won a Pulitzer Prize for its coverage of the Aurora, Colo., shooting in 2013 — with more than half of the staff blackened out to indicate that they no longer worked there.

This experience is typical. From 1990 to 2016, the number of newspaper employees in the United States dropped from from 456,300 to about 183,000, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Those numbers understate the decline in many areas. For instance, in the 1990s, the San Jose Mercury News, a major newspaper in Northern California, employed 400 union-represented journalists. But in a recent count by the newspaper union, the number of unionized newsroom staffers in the South Bay for Bay Area News Group, which includes the Mercury News, was down to 41.

The crisis in journalism has turned into a crisis of democracy. In concrete terms, what does that really mean?


More at link.

9 replies, 860 views

Reply to this thread

Back to top Alert abuse

Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread

Response to apnu (Original post)

Mon Apr 16, 2018, 01:01 PM

1. See if i was Bill Gates, for instance, I would buy ten million newspaper subs for

anyone and everyone from the papers doing honest journalism.

I would consider it a direct investment in my business, a business Putin will seize eventually if I dont.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Eliot Rosewater (Reply #1)

Mon Apr 16, 2018, 01:07 PM

2. That's a fantastic idea, Mr. Rosewater. Maybe someone could contact Bill Gates...

It couldn't hurt!

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to apnu (Original post)

Mon Apr 16, 2018, 03:56 PM

3. As a former journalist, I've been warning folks about this for years...

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Blue_Tires (Reply #3)

Mon Apr 16, 2018, 04:32 PM

4. I was a student of journalism in my early years

never made it to that job, but I've see what you see and have been warning about it for years too.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to apnu (Reply #4)

Mon Apr 16, 2018, 07:03 PM

5. This puts it in perspective:

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Blue_Tires (Reply #5)

Tue Apr 17, 2018, 08:55 AM

7. I live in Charlottesville, and I can tell you that the paper he worked for, The Daily Progress,"

is a piece of trash. We subscribed for a couple of years when we moved here, and gave up on it when we realized how little real information about anything relevant it actually reported.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Nitram (Reply #7)

Tue Apr 17, 2018, 12:19 PM

8. My dad was from Charlottesville and I still have family there

I don't remember the Daily Progress being that bad, but it has been some years since I've read it...

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to apnu (Original post)

Tue Apr 17, 2018, 08:53 AM

6. I regret that the local newspaper and radio station are becoming a thing or the past.

Last edited Tue Apr 17, 2018, 01:16 PM - Edit history (1)

I would like to point out, however, that a subscription to a national paper like the NYT or the Washington Post is a better source of true and in depth reporting than any local newspaper. And NPR is the same in the realm of radio.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to apnu (Original post)

Tue Apr 17, 2018, 01:24 PM

9. We got an LTTE about this...

My publisher wrote an opinion piece about Facebook screwing up local news.

One of the local RWers wrote into claim all our problems would be solved if we’d only become more conservative.

Our owner and publisher are both Republicans, but not that R...they know a small town paper has to stay largely apolitical if it wants to succeed.

If we went Hard Right, we wouldn’t get the Trump voters who believe anything short of Fox News is Democratic propaganda, and we’ll lose the readers who, by and large, have always expressed the desire to have as little politics in our paper as possible.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Reply to this thread