The local newspaper in Bristol, CT, The Bristol Press, has been going through hard times and will likely have to close its doors due to mounting debt and declining revenue. Frank Nicastro, who represents Connecticut’s 79th Assembly district, thinks something should be done to prevent it.
The media is a vitally important part of America, particularly local papers that cover news ignored by big papers and television and radio stations.
Reuters reporter Robert MacMillan states,
Relying on government help raises ethical questions for the press, whose traditional role has been to operate free from government influence as it tries to hold politicians accountable to the people who elected them.
The irony in that statement from a reporter working for Reuters is so thick, you’ll need an acetylene torch to cut through it. As if that weren’t enough, academia must weigh in as well. Paul Janensch, a journalism professor at Quinnipiac University in Connecticut says,
You can’t expect a watchdog to bite the hand that feeds it.
MacMillan goes on to report,
Many media experts predict that 2009 will be the year that newspapers of all sizes will falter and die, a threat long predicted but rarely taken seriously until the credit crunch blossomed into a full-fledged financial meltdown. Some papers no longer print daily, and some not at all.
Recently here in Colorado, the owner of the Rocky Mountain News announced that the paper was for sale, though they didn’t expect to find a buyer. More than likely, they will simply close the doors and Denver will be down to a single major newspaper source. The fact is, interest in traditional media has been declining for some time, and I believe it’s largely due to the fact that they won’t do their job anymore. The declining economy just finally tipped the scales.
With few exceptions, we in the new media have been relegated to reporting on reporting. We highlight things traditional media has refused to address, and report on their frequent hypocrisy. But the money for true investigative reporting continues to elude us for the most part. As traditional media sources continue to fail, we have the opportunity to fill the gap with a new media response.
As the year 2009 begins to unfold, we have a unique opportunity to increase our influence in America. This begins in our local community, like Bristol Connecticut, or for me, Fort Collins, Colorado. It’s going to take time, and it’s going to mean recruiting others if we intend to fill the gap. We can make a difference, and it begins in our local community and State. It’s going to take hard work and a relentless pursuit of the truth.
As long as our First Amendment rights are not taken away there will be media of one type or another. Just as our industrialized nation has changed over the years away from manufacturing and towards service-oriented industries, so will our media sources continue to change more and more towards electronic alternatives. We have an opportunity here. Nature abhors a vacuum, and so does the people’s desire to know. Will we fill it, or will we leave it to our liberal counterparts? One way or another, the gap will be filled.