The crisis in local journalism has become a crisis of democracy

The paucity of reporters has triggered an invisible power shift toward elected officials. A Pew Research Center study of Baltimore showed an increase in local stories based on press releases from elected officials.

The trends in journalism exacerbate the divide between the coasts and the rest of the country. In 2014, almost 1 out of 5 U.S. reporters worked in New York, Washington or Los Angeles, compared with 1 in 8 in 2004. Isn’t it likely that this contributed to the media missing the two biggest stories of the past few years – the rise of the opioid epidemic in middle America and the political strength of Donald Trump?

In addition, with less local reporting, residents come to understand each other less well. Fellow citizens become caricatures rather than neighbors — and we become more polarized. —Washington Post


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