Newspapers make society more accountable?

Like many, I see a lot of articles in my news feed. One of them that I came across today was about how local newspaper closing down have a direct relationship with increase spending in government.

According to the article The Hidden Costs of Losing Your City’s Newspaper,

When local newspapers shut their doors, communities lose out. People and their stories can’t find coverage. Politicos take liberties when it’s nobody’s job to hold them accountable. What the public doesn’t know winds up hurting them. The city feels poorer, politically and culturally.

There is many problems with this thinking and I want to point one a few things that people should consider before jumping on the bandwagon about closing newspapers.

I am not a fan of losing traditional newspaper as they have been and remain a cultural staple to our society. For decades, Americans have woke up and went to get their newspaper as they brew some coffee. This is especially true among older Americans.

The thought of losing that is a piece of our culture that is on the line as well. I am sure that is such a positive thing. With that said, we don’t drive horse drawn buddies anymore. It is a sign of advancement.

Newspapers are yesterday’s news

Let’s face it: Websites are updated much faster than a newspaper. If the paper’s deadline is three in the afternoon, anything after that would not make the news until the next day. Within minutes, an article could be posted on the website.

No matter if people like it not, digital news is much more in real time than a newspaper will ever be. We live in a generation that we do not expect to wait for information consumption. It is just a fact of life in the 21st century.

This does not mean that we do not need a traditional paper in print. Many people do not live life based on their Facebook newsfeed. They still look forward to hearing that paper hit the porch at four in the morning. For them, the paper needs to be printed.

Blame Craigslist?

 For counties within 30 miles of a city where Craigslist opened up shop, the probability of newspaper closure increased by 9.6 percent.

It is no surprise that websites like Craigslist is putting a big dent in the income of local newspaper. It is no  longer needed to get a classified for a garage sale. You can post it on Craigslist but also in Facebook groups and Google+ communities.

I am sure that small newspapers like the Maryville Daily Forum are hurting by all the classified websites. However, part of the reason this is happening is they have not really made the transition to a web first model like Kansas City Star.



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