When’s the last time you’ve read an article from your local newspaper? Has it been weeks? Months? Years? In politics, there has been a recent surge of media skepticism. Too many of us are sparring about the purpose of a free press just when local newspapers and community journalists need our support the most. And, without a doubt, we need their work as well.
This week is National Newspaper Week. Now’s the time to give this struggling American cornerstone industry the props it deserves.
The Slow Death of Newspapers
We now live in an age of furious innovation due in large part to the Internet. It’s changed the way we work and has helped people (especially marginalized groups) scattered across the world find or create communities. But there’s a downside to this.
As more of us reach for our laptops and smartphones, companies are switching up their advertisement strategies, opting to buy ads on websites instead of newspapers. But that’s not the only problem. Nowadays we take our local newspapers for granted. With our free and easy access to news online, we’ve grown accustomed to not paying for quality, researched information. Because of this and other factors, newspapers are hemorrhaging money. Many of our newspapers are being downsized, merged, bought up by billionaires, or closed up altogether.
The future for newspapers looks bleak. According to a Pew Research study, 36 percent of the largest newspapers in America experienced layoffs between January 2017 and April 2018. This is not an anomaly but a continuing trend. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of people working in newspapers continues to drop. In fact, between 2014 and 2017, the number of newspaper newsroom employees dropped by 15 percent, from about 46,000 to about 39,000.
Why You Should Support Your Local Newspaper
If you are one of the many Americans who hasn’t bought a local newspaper in forever, the slow death of the industry may seem like a sad but unavoidable turn of events. Why should you care and show your support? Well, here are just a few points for you to consider:
- Events. Local newspapers keep you informed about local events, such as upcoming celebrations, concerts, rallies, etc.
- Community. Local newspapers help a community stay connected.
- Spotlights. Local newspapers recognize small town heroes and the good deeds they’re doing for the community. These stories are often left out of national news reports.
- Jobs. Local newspapers provide jobs for your community—from the journalists to the layout artists to the printers to the newspaper carriers.
- Local politics. Local journalists investigate important political stories in your area, like corrupt politicians within the community.
- Tradition. Newspapers have played an important part in American democracy and history. Before America was even America, three-dozen newspapers and the reporting that they published helped bolster the American Revolution.
Save Your Local Newspaper
Today, show your support for your local newspaper by buying a subscription. If you’re a business owner and you’re in need of advertisement, consider buying an ad in your local paper. If you already have a subscription, encourage other people to do so. And when the holidays come, don’t forget to tip your newspaper carrier!
Bonus. In honor of National Newspaper Week, check out this Mindful article—it’s about women who achieved great firsts in the newspaper industry.