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Monday, October 9, 2017

Shrinking Local News

Salena Zito at The Washington Examiner:
There used to 324 newspapers in the state of Pennsylvania.
Today, there are about 60 – give or take a few.
As with everything in this country, automation and technology have erased more than half of the newspapers in this country that employed reporters who kept a check on power. The digital age opened up a world where everyone could have a blog, and none of them had three layers of editors to fact check you to the bone or ask you "why didn't you ask this question?" and send you back out to do just that.

That does not mean they don't do this in New York or Washington – it's just that these days they do it less in the rest of the country.

Newspapers are expensive and bleed money – the ability to make money left with the dawn of digital, and no one really figured out the secret sauce to help small towns support local news organizations like the old Times Sun.

Last Sunday, the esteemed Bob Schieffer, a newsman with decades of journalistic experience, cited a statistic on Sunday showing how journalism is thriving only in the geographical seats of power on our coasts.
"In 2004, one reporter in eight lived in New York, Washington, or Los Angeles. That number is now down to 1-in-5 who live in those three places," he reported on CBS' "Face the Nation."

That geographical realignment means that America's reputable news outlets are located near, and covered by, people who have never likely covered or understood the life of many of their consumers.