Everybody has a story about a local journalist who misspelled a name or reported some detail that you know from firsthand experience can’t be right. But it’s local news organizations who keep the local politicians in line, publishing their campaign promises and then tracking their followup, separating the plain facts from partisan hyperbole, and giving voice to locals whose lives are impacted by big construction projects, weather disasters, local crime waves such as the opioid epidemic, and disappearing local jobs. The reporters from the big city are busy enough covering their own stories. And Facebook certainly doesn’t care.
As circulation has declined, local newspapers have had to adjust for the loss in revenue, sometimes by shrinking the size of their staffs, sometimes by selling out or closing up shop all together.
The Greater Pittsburgh Area is witnessing this potentially dangerous trend firsthand. The area has lost 5 daily newspapers since 2015, with a host of others changing ownership. These changes pose a great risk in both the quality and quantity of local content.