There’s been an explosion of online news reporting, but amid all this abundance, an extreme shortage is emerging. According to the New York Times, a recent federal study has shown that local reporting is suffering to the point that we are actually hurting democracy! “Coverage of state governments and municipalities has receded at such an alarming pace that it has left government with more power than ever to set the agenda and have assertions unchallenged,” the Times concludes.
The purpose of the study was to “assess the health of the media industry” and “determine whether government policies that affect the industry are in sync in the digital age.” But what it actually revealed was that cutbacks in local reporting and newspapers have had a massive ripple effect through the media system, eroding important local coverage. And there is little to be done about it, until the local news industry somehow becomes more robust.
Steven Waldman, a former journalist for Newsweek and U.S. News and World Report journalist, joked about what could be done to the Times: “A ban on press releases?”
A joke, but perhaps an interesting theory. In the absence of unbiased information, is no information an improvement?