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REFLECTION CONNECTION

The following two quotes from a major study of changes in local news gathering and reporting acoss America by PEN AMERICA, titled "Losing the News, The Decimation of Local Journalism and the Search for Solutions." November 20, 2019
 
"Since 2004, nearly 1,800 newspapers have closed, leaving American towns and cities—sometimes entire counties— without a meaningful source of local reporting. And the pace of closures is only accelerating as tech giants siphon off much of the ad revenue that once sustained the media industry.
     "Other local news sources (TV, radio stations) continue to see widespread consolidation under conglomerates that lean on one- size-fits-all national news, the very sort of news now widely distrusted. But while Americans still trust their local news sources, what many don’t realize is just how much many of these outlets are struggling.
     "A healthy local news ecosystem provides communities with the information they need to live safe, healthy lives and participate in the democratic life of their communities. Robust local news drives voter turnout, holds officials and corporate leaders accountable, makes people aware of nearby opportunities and dangers, and, perhaps most importantly, works against the now-widespread breakdown in social cohesion by narrating the life of a place and its inhabitants, telling the daily stories that form the basis for shared communal experience."
 
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     "When the local news ecosystem works well, it plays a vital and irreplaceable role in safeguarding the health and welfare of communities across the country: keeping them apprised of critical information, amplifying local issues to attract regional or national attention, holding local government and corporations accountable, and building social cohesion by telling stories that build solidarity and mutual understanding.
     "At a time when political polarization is growing and fraudulent news is proliferating, the status of local outlets as trusted sources is more important than ever.
     "The local news ecosystem is foundational to American democracy. It keeps citizens educated, motivates them to vote, and serves as an indispensable check on government power. Without the accountability mechanism of local journalism, government officials conduct themselves with less integrity, efficiency, and effectiveness."
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