Local newspapers are dying. The rise of the internet has strangled their revenue streams and they don’t know how to save themselves.
I do not know how to save them either, but I do know we are all in big trouble if they do not figure it out.
Do you know what your city council has been discussing lately? Do you know what projects they are approving? Do you know where your taxes are going?
You probably do not. Most of us do not because we have jobs to work and families to tend to. The reality is that we simply do not have the time to take up civil vigilance as a hobby, and even if we did, most of us would not.
That is why we need local newspapers that employ journalists to spend all of their time answering these questions and trying to make sure there’s no funny business going on in city hall.
“We simply do not have the time to take up civil vigilance as a hobby.”
– Iain Carlos ’20
You might be thinking somebody else could do this, like an online outlet. Or what about the local TV news my grandmother watches?
Well, many of the reliable online outlets are not exactly thriving, but even if they were, they simply do not have the bandwidth to cover your local city council with any regularity.
Granted, your local TV news has managed to preserve its revenue better than the newspapers, but they have their own problems. They do not know if anyone is going to watch once grandma passes, they do not cover local news in nearly as much depth as newspapers and most of their quality coverage is sandwiched between stories about dogs and self-help tips.
I do not know how to save local newspapers. Somebody figure it out, or else we are all in big trouble.
Iain Carlos ‘20 is from Chicago, Ill. His major is religion.