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The Downfall of Local Newspapers

Updated: Apr 17

by Joshua Yan April 3 2024


In recent decades, the world has undergone a mass digitization, causing a decline in traditional journalistic mediums. Perhaps the most prominent example of this is the downfall of local newspapers, which has contributed to misinformation and polarization in the media.


A third of the nation’s local newspapers have disappeared since 2005, along with two-thirds of their journalists being laid off, according to a study by Midwestern University. The same study found that of the U.S.’s 3,143 counties, 1,562 have only

one local newspaper, and another 204 have none at all.


Peter Yoon Art

This is largely the fault of the digital migration, which has sidelined local newspapers as financially unviable. With time, readers and advertisers have opted for the digital alternative, resulting in a sharp decline in revenue for paperback news sources. Local newspapers have consequently been forced to take measures like laying off their employees, causing 43,000 journalists to lose their jobs since 2005, according to a Northwestern study.



Peter Yoon art

The resulting model of journalism is one in which people care less about what is going on around them and more about events taking place across the globe. Not only that, but news websites today use sensational headlines for their articles, creating a disconnect within communities as local news stories appear less interesting. Even more, algorithms on social media have created echo chambers perpetuating readers’ favored viewpoints, widening the gap of political  polarization  between  already  divided  citizens.


“I never read local newspapers. Almost all of my news comes from Instagram because of how accessible it is,” Sophomore Angela Fong said.

Without seeing issues from both sides, people will empathize less with one another. Being able to understand each other is what allows society to function; a lack of empathy means that people cannot work together and make progress. Furthermore, political corruption will rise without enough journalists to keep elected officials in check.


“Newspapers are an important resource for spreading information to the public. We need them to exist so that they can address violent situations and social justice issues,” Freshman Logan Jones said.

If local newspapers disappear, citizens lose the ability to be informed about important issues within their own communities, undermining the purpose of the news as a whole. News sources exist to inform the public to hold higher-ups of society accountable. As such, it is necessary to ensure that local journalism is preserved, whether it be through increased government funding or philanthropic support. This extra investment does not pose a big financial burden, as the return of embezzled funds exposed by local journalists would return money back to the community. Additionally, residents should go out of their way to support local newspapers to keep them running through donations.


The death of local news will harm individuals, communities and the country as a whole. It is up to everyone to keep local newspapers alive to preserve journalistic integrity and keep tight the bonds that unite the nation.



 

About the Contributors



Joshua Yan

staff writer


Joshua Yan is a Junior at Leland High School and is a staff writer for The Charger Account. In his free time, he enjoys playing the piano, listening to music, and playing video games.







Peter Yoon

artist


Peter Yoon is a sophomore at Leland High School and is an artist for The Charger Account. During his free time, he likes to listen to music, draw, and sleep.


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