Wednesday, December 07, 2022

Every Time We Go Away


 

I found this amusing, but also sad. Subscriptions to newspapers are dying - we're dinosaurs, my husband and me, who subscribe still to the print editions.

But without the journalists watching the town, ensuring the local government doesn't slide its way into fascism or some other unwanted form of governing, who will keep the officials on their toes? Citizen journalists with blogs? 

The local officials aren't scared of citizen journalists with blogs. They aren't scared by online newspapers, either. Online copy is ephemeral. It can be easily changed, removed, deleted. It's easy to say it didn't happen, even if the online article states it did.

Print, though - that's permanent. When the print articles say something happened, it happened.

I am part of the local news media, even though I do not write as much as I did. My medium now is an online one, where I write government stories. The print paper that I used to write for still exists but does little in the way of real journalism. There are no hard-hitting news stories there, no small bomb-drops of information that make the public take note.

The online paper is free; the print paper is also online but behind a paywall. I don't know how many digital subscribers it has. The online paper I write for says it sometimes gets 20,000 hits on an article. Other times, not so much.

My work in the online paper sometimes aggravates the local officials because I pull no punches. I don't sugar coat, but neither do I offer opinion. I simply state what happened at a meeting. If someone says something outlandish that I think the public needs to know about, I report it. If the local officials are doing things that I think the public needs to know about, I report it. I don't exaggerate or minimize; I leave it to the reader to decide if this issue is important or not.

Most of my long-time readers know if I report on something, I think it is important and something they should know about.

I am the one who watches the local officials for Freedom of Information Act violations; the one who questions the number of closed sessions they take, the information that comes out of those sessions, and any number of other things. Even when I was writing for the print paper, many times I questioned but the public never knew I was making inquiries, protecting their interests to the best of my ability.

As best I can tell, the less drama for the print paper, the better.

My inquiries with government officials are taken seriously, in part because I've been doing it for so long, but not as seriously as they once were (or so it seems). 

Without a good newspaper, a community suffers from lack of information. As the comic strip notes, where do the people who fuss about things on social media sites actually get their information? From local news reporters, whether that's print or TV media. 

Or an online community journalist.

Subscribe to a paper, even if it's digital. It supports democracy, and we all know that needs all the help it can get.

*Edited

3 comments:

  1. I remember reading the newspaper for many years. Sad that so many things have been lost because of the digital world. Glad you are honest in your writings!

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  2. Yes, when it's in print, it is hard to deny. It is very sad to see print news falling by the wayside. I subscribe to a few. I would be lost without them.

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  3. Our community papers cover the stories that have a big and immediate impact on our lives. It's important. I'm glad you're proud of what you've accomplished.

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