Over the last decade or more, we’ve seen countless newspapers go out of business, unable to keep up with online services and the overall drop of people reading the daily paper. We are lucky to live in an area with a few local papers and a few local radio and TV stations.
Whether you personally like these sources of local media, you cannot deny the importance of local media. Local reporters are the first on the scene of things happening in our community, reporting on issues that impact our day to day lives. The paper lists activities, meetings and the “going’s on” of our area. All of this is irreplaceable and cannot be done by non-local news outlets.
Local media is also a resource for members of the community to use as a way to shine light on an important issue. In my experience, local reporters are eager to hear leads or ideas for stories. I think the local media has done a great job covering the 6-year pipeline battle we’ve been fighting, and as a pipeline opponent and organizer, the local media has been invaluable in getting the word out on this important issue.
Your local paper is a great way to get a pulse on your community, by reading the letters to the editor, you can hear directly from your neighbors about a variety of topics. You can write a letter to the editor yourself and talk about any issue on your mind.
Not only are newspapers going out of business, but local papers are being bought out by bigger papers/corporations. This tends to decrease the variety of ideas and stories. Studies have shown that when these big organizations eat up the smaller ones, we see lay-offs of local reporters, and quality, local reporting becomes a thing of the past.
In the News Virginian earlier this month, there was an article about schools clamping down on student journalism around the country, citing an example of a school administration editing out a student’s report on deplorable conditions at the school. We should be encouraging and applauding student’s work and passions, not censoring and controlling them.
I encourage everyone to support your local media. Personally, I like to start the day off with a nice cup of coffee, read the News Virginian, and breeze through Augusta Free Press and the News Leader. I have WHSV on while I get ready for work and listen to WMRA on the way to work. I can’t imagine living in an area without robust, honest, and local media.
Support your local media before it’s too late!