There is immense power when a group of people with similar interests gets together to work toward the same goals. — Idowu Koyenikan
The Value of Local News
The void created when we lose a local newspaper has significant political, social and economic implications for our society and our democracy. Historically, newspapers have been the prime, if not sole, source of credible and comprehensive news and information that affects the quality of life of residents living in the thousands of small and mid-sized communities that dot this country.
To understand the consequences, consider my hometown in rural, eastern North Carolina. It is located in the Ninth Congressional district, which is gerrymandered across eight counties, some of the poorest in the state. For almost a year, residents of the Ninth District were deprived of representation in Congress because of significant election fraud in 2018 that flew under the radar of severely understaffed local and state newspapers, as well as the state’s broadcast and digital outlets. It was a political science professor at a small college miles away – not a journalist – who first discovered how the fraud was perpetrated.
Important local news also goes unreported. A member of my local city council recently asked me, “How do you correct a story on Facebook?” As it turns out, no reporter had shown up to cover an unexpectedly contentious council meeting. A one-sided Facebook post about the meeting was the only account of what had transpired – and it had been shared hundreds of times.
Why Local News Matters, and What We Can Do to Save It
Rural people like local news, but they seldom see it in their newspapers. Most rural people get their news from the closest city. Written by community members, the Plains Newspaper will cover the extended Plains area.