From State of the News Media 2016, the annual report on America’s working press from the Pew Research Center:
Another set of numbers compounds the problem:
As profits decline for local newspapers and television, more ;layoffs follow, leading to a decline in the quality and quantity of local journalism, leading to more losses of subscribers and viewers, leading to more loss of revenue, leading to. . .an accelerating death spiral.
What the numbers speak to is a worrying trend, the delocalization of journalism.
All politics is local, and so is news
Legendary Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill famously declared that all politics is local, meaning that all political acts impact on all of us.
And what newspapers, local radio stations, and local television news used to do was connect events at the national and international level with the local community.
Thousands of reporters dug into the connections, coming up with stories that tiend events in the larger arena with local businesses, school, community organizations, and individuals.
Reporting on those links brought the political down to earth, revealing the positive and negative implications of seemingly distant events down to earth.
Without that linkage, political discussion becomes generalized and abstract, a tool for division and sowing doubt and confusion.
We would argue that the collapse of community journalism and the relentless drive to find the local linkages iplows the ground for candidates like Donald Trump.
Anyway, that’s what one old curmudgeon thinks in the long, dark hours of night.