I was planning a post on a published study that showed how cities and towns with local newspapers have greater government efficiency. Events in Annapolis, MD yesterday seem to have added significance to the post. A gunman who was angry at the Capitol Gazette for reporting on his harassing of a woman, went into their office and killed 5 of their staff.
The study I am citing was inspired by an episode of John Oliver's show Last Week Tonight from three years ago (which can be seen above) about the decline of newspapers. The researchers found a correlation between the lack of a local print journalism outlet and a 5 to 11% increase in municipal borrowing. This underscores the valuable service that these papers provide. The whole study can be read here.
Newspapers have been in decline for decades as the internet and other media have crowded them out. Yesterdays incident brings an added dimension to the difficulties that they face. Newspapers get complaints about the stories that they run all the time with the occasional threat. This is the worst attack on a western media outlet since the anthrax attacks in 2001 and Charlie Hebdo in Paris in 2014. Hopefully these attacks will have no effect on the content that these outlets provide. The element of fear in reporting is a hard thing to regulate however.
Independent blogs like mine try to fill the void by providing my own take on the news with my own findings thrown in. But I am one person. I do not have the resources that the newspapers and TV/Radio journalists have or once had since Johannes Gutenberg created the first printing press and Ben Franklin had his print shop. We all keep on keeping on.