Importance of Local News

Zac Zehnder
4 min readDec 13, 2021

As time has gone by, information is spreading more quickly than ever before. There is so much information constantly coming from many different areas, and with advancements in digital media, local news outlets are being left in the dust. What used to be a source for everyone in their communities is being suddenly forgotten

In no way does this minimize the importance of local news. As a matter of fact, it raises concern around what information is being taken in and what it means for your life. While mainstream media can be helpful, it can be distracting for people that need to know what is going on in their immediate surroundings. After all, everything starts small. However, over the last 15 years, the United States has lost over a quarter of local news coverage (NYSBA).

One of the clear reasons for this is the advances in national and entertainment news are taking the viewers attention away from local news due to a failure by local news outlets to “up their game” as far as content is concerned. This is a gap that got even bigger during the pandemic. News outlets everywhere had to get creative while national outlets where off the charts with coverage of the pandemic.

In the article called Digital Journalism, Su Jung Kim points in the same direction as far as local news outlets failing. “Value can be created for and by individuals, organizations and society, i.e., all three can be both sources of value creation and targets in the value creation process. When there is a mismatch between the value intended and designed by a company and customers’ perception of this value, a perception gap occurs.”

Well, have that with a side of funding because now even big news outlets are beginning to charge a small month fee to view their content. This is something local news organizations are struggling to do because of the gap. “This would typically be the case where the local news publishers’ product does not meet audiences’ wants and needs. As a result of this mismatch, customers are unwilling to make significant temporal and monetary expenditures on the company’s offering” (Digital Media).

The problem with this as stated before is that local news is very important to a community. How important is it? According to the New York State Bar Association, “Abundant research in recent years has found that strong local journalism builds social cohesion, encourages political participation and improves the efficiency and decision making of local and state government.” Just as it sounds, local journalism literally brings a community together.

Researchers are discovering that the decline in local news seems to come from a lack of digital content. In a day where video is at the center of everything, it is becoming very difficult for a well written article to serve any kind of purpose. In the NYSBA article, it says “Those local news organizations that survive and thrive in this digital age will be led by journalistic entrepreneurs who are creative and disciplined strategists, willing and able to invest for the long-term to serve the information needs of their communities.”

I think the reason writers are starting to fade out in journalism is because of the speed that information can be taken in through video. It goes along with the same exact reason that libraries are dying out across the United States. Nobody wants to read anything. It should not come as a surprise to anyone that this has happened.

When you are watching a video, you get to use most of your senses. Not only do you get to see what is happening within good b-roll, but you get to listen as well and when you put those two things together, you can but almost double the amount of information in your brain at the same time. Time is money.

Nonetheless, this does not take away from the fact that local news organizations must be sure to take a closer look at their content. A lot of content being generated now is either biased or irrelevant. With integrity in the business slowly disappearing, it is hard to decide what is considered being news anymore. Local news organizations need to jam their foot back in the door in a new and better way, as it could actually be helpful in shifting the industry back into what it used to be.

The consequences of the absence of local news can be devastating as we are all witness to it where it has already happened somewhere. Both absent and bad local news entities cause ignorance within a community which has plenty of problems of its own. A less obvious consequence of a lack of local news is a lack of awareness of what is happening around you. It might not seem obvious at first, but the place