West Virginia is surprisingly fortunate in the case of native information: All however two of our 55 counties have some form of native publication, in keeping with current analysis by Northwestern College and the Medill Native Information Initiative.
The excellent news: Except for Putnam and Marshall counties, all of West Virginia has entry to a minimum of one non-television native information supply. A handful of locations, together with Mon and Preston counties, have entry to 2, and Kanawha County has three.
By the numbers, West Virginia has 64 newspapers that print both each day or weekly, plus West Virginia Public Broadcasting and two online-only information suppliers, for a complete 67 publications. Not dangerous for considered one of America’s most rural and least populated states.
Granted, simply because there’s a newspaper out there in a county doesn’t imply everybody can and does get it. A number of the extra rural areas could not be capable to have it home-delivered, however a minimum of residents can nonetheless choose up a replica on the town. That’s higher than the true information deserts some areas face, the place there are not any native information sources.
Which brings us to the dangerous information: Most West Virginia counties are susceptible to turning into information deserts. Since many counties solely have one publication, if that newspaper goes underneath, there will likely be no native information left. Sadly, the nation is on monitor to lose one-third of its remaining native papers by the top of subsequent yr — and what’s left could also be little greater than a “ghost paper” with out the assets or employees to provide authentic content material. Positive, nearly anybody with a TV can choose up regional CBS, FOX or NBC affiliate stations, however these will largely deal with their closest metropolitan areas.
Analysis exhibits that in communities with out native newspapers, “authorities corruption and authorities prices improve, officers conduct themselves with much less integrity and effectivity,” within the phrases of PEN America’s Viktorya Vilk. Civic engagement additionally decreases, as folks lose entry to details about elections and elected officers that doesn’t come from marketing campaign adverts.
By that very same token, the lack of native information really drives political division. When all we’ve to depend on is the nationwide information — which tends to deal with nationwide politics and crises — we lose sight of the frequent bonds and pursuits that convey us collectively.
Native publications can’t survive with out subscribers and advertisers. Simply as native papers maintain communities related, the communities maintain papers afloat.
When you’re studying this, then there’s an excellent likelihood you already assist your native newspaper. Thanks!
When you’d love to do extra to assist your native newspaper, there are some things you are able to do — at no cost! When you’ve got social media, share posts and information articles out of your newspaper. This helps the paper attain a wider viewers. Or, even higher, inform family and friends how a lot you get pleasure from your hometown information and encourage them to subscribe, too.
To paraphrase our former writer Dave Raese: You’ll miss us if we’re gone.