On this site a lot of pixels have been devoted to the loss of real reporting in this city of 85,000. I’m not alone in remembering receiving two weekly papers on my doorstep when I moved here in the mid 1990s. Those soon merged into one and now we have just a few pages of what one would consider “news” content each week.
The truth is, our local news operations have suffered from a lack of funds for quite a while. Yes, there is the Patch, the TAB and NewTV, but all are, at best, resource constrained.
Unfortunately, this is part of a national trend and honestly, we may be on the lucky side. Nieman Lab reports that researchers from News Measures Research Project at Duke looked at 100 communities like ours (with populations between 20,000 and 300,000) they found that most of what ends up in these publications isn’t news at all. Worse, of the 100 locations examined eight had no news stories AT ALL and four lacked any news outlet whatsoever.
Some other findings: less than 20 percent of news stories are actually local. Less than half are original to the particular outlet. Only about 56 percent address a “critical information need.”
In many cases, stories are just links to social media, like celebrity news or YouTube videos, that have nothing to do with the local community.
While we’re not alone in this problem, it certainly isn’t good news for us finding a solution.