Edit desk: Appreciating local journalism

During a video interview at the beginning of this semester, I was asked the question: “Why is local journalism important?”

It took me a little bit to figure out what the best answer to this question was, and even required me to do some background research.

As a journalism student, I always think of major newspapers and networks like NBC, Fox, The New York Times and The Washington Post as the primary sources of information. But local newspapers are only if not more important.

However, access to local news has become more difficult, especially when the digital-first era hits a 24/7 global pandemic. This has resulted in an increase in the news deserts across the country, resulting in job losses.

According to the US News Deserts Website, since 2004 the US has lost a quarter of its newspapers, including 70 daily newspapers and 2,000 weekly newspapers. In 2004 there were about 9,000 newspaper companies in the United States, and that number fell to 6,700 in late 2019. The website states that there are 200 counties in this country that do not have a newspaper or reliable source for accurate information.

The pandemic has only made this situation worse.

According to The Washington PostThe first month of the pandemic saw numerous vacation days, layoffs and newsroom closings across the country at a time when people were again in need of help

Andrew Isaacson ’22

adhesive information more than ever.

Newspaper editors and reporters are responsible for building trust, connecting, and providing credible facts to their communities. They particularly affect residents of smaller communities by keeping them informed of what is happening in their cities and examining how national problems hit them near their homes.

The decline in local journalism runs counter to the First Amendment guarantee of freedom of the press.

Without a local newspaper, a community loses access to its news. No regional news means people are unaware of the political choices in their city, no live coverage of events, breaking news, investigative or long-term articles, and no basic information to help citizens get through the week.

Decreasing coverage State and local government leads to more polarization, fewer candidates for office and higher cuts in local borrowing.

Last year in particular, there seems to have been more news than ever, and the role of journalism in our democracy has proven to be even more important. Local journalists have played the role of educating the community on how the COVID-19 pandemic, social injustice and elections have affected them.

As an employee of The brown and white With a journalism major, it’s hard to imagine how a city can survive without local news.

The brown and white gave me the opportunity to cover a Lehigh soccer game, introduce students and community leaders, interview students and residents in the 2020 election, and more. It is mind-boggling that there are certain communities that unfortunately do not have access to coverage of football matches, stories about their local leaders, and up-to-date about major political races in their area.

The question from the video interview made me appreciate the role The brown and white Other local newspapers and I had covered the University and Lehigh Valley communities.

Until this interview, I had never really thought about the importance of having a reliable local news source. It feels like we’re surrounded by news every day and just knowing what’s going on in my city and across the country makes me healthy.

At the same time, however, there are certain authoritarian countries that either fail to keep their citizens informed or restrict the publication of news.

It has been a challenge for many newspapers to adapt to this era of digital-first journalism 24/7, but that shouldn’t mean people are unaware of what is going on around them.

The news shouldn’t be restricted to just anyone, regardless of where they live. The news is what makes democracy thrive.

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