As the final voters cast their ballots on this final day of this extraordinary and historic election, we want to turn our focus to one of the most crucial tenets of the political process: local journalism. In the words of the iconic media tycoon William Randolph Hearst, “News is what someone, somewhere, doesn’t want reported. All the rest is advertisement.”
As The Washington Post media columnist Margaret Sullivan reports in her timely and important book, Ghosting the News: Local Journalism and the Crisis of American Democracy, there are more and more communities around the country that no longer have locally based reporters, who know what’s important, who know who to talk to, and who know how to hold people accountable.
The national newspapers -- The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Wall Street Journal -- are thriving, as are cable news channels and other national news outlets. But local news operations are hurting, badly. More than 2,000 newspapers have closed in the last 15 years. Today, more local newsrooms are being gutted or shut down forever, often by corporate owners who care little about journalism, and who are fixated on cost-cutting to improve profits.
Margaret Sullivan joins Tom on Zoom to explain why those newsrooms matter.