Ghosting the News: Local Journalism and the Crisis of American Democracy

October 31, 2020
Ghosting the News: Local Journalism and the Crisis of American Democracy

"An excellent introduction to the essential problem ofour republic. With a wake-up call like this one, we still have achance."--Timothy Snyder, author of On TyrannyAn Epidemic of News Deserts and Ghost PapersGhosting the News tells the most troubling media story of ourtime: How democracy suffers when local news dies. From 2004 to2015, 1,800 print newspaper outlets closed in the US. One in fivenews organizations in Canada has closed since 2008. One in threeBrazilians lives in news deserts. The absence of accountabilityjournalism has created an atmosphere in which indicted politicianswere elected, school superintendents were mismanaging districts,and police chiefs were getting mysterious payouts. This is not themuch-discussed fake-news problem--it's the separate problem of acritical shortage of real news.America's premier media critic, Margaret Sullivan, charts thecontours of the damage, and surveys a range of new efforts to keeplocal news alive--from non-profit digital sites to an effortmodeled on the Peace Corps. No nostalgic paean to the roar ofrumbling presses, Ghosting the News instead sounds a loud alarm,alerting citizens to a growing crisis in local news that hasalready done serious damage.