Ferguson, Bill Cosby, and the Middle East. Almost anyone you talk to will be able to give you a brief synopsis of these news stories. However, can those same people tell you who won the local election, what the status of the Gary Airport is, or how a toll road goes bankrupt?
While today's news has given us the opportunity to be more globally aware, has it come at the price of not knowing what is going on around us?
One reason that we are seeing a lack of local awareness is that in recent years we have seen a decline in newspaper readership in the United States. Newspapers in smaller towns were hit especially hard. We have seen some of our local papers close down completely or be absorbed into larger media companies. The transition to new online distribution services was one of the many factors that spelled doom for local papers. But is technology completely to blame?
No. Technology is not to blame, but lack of adaptation could be. The widespread use of the Internet has led to the creation of hyper-local news sources like Patch, but even Patch has had its problems. I think the real factor that led to the decrease in readership of local papers is sensationalism.
Unfortunately, the local happenings aren’t always entertaining or exciting. However, the world news is almost always exciting. News has become more about the entertainment than the information. Local news was always been informative, but there is no way it could compete with the daily global headlines. So, we are left with a public that is much more globally informed than ever, but at the cost of a public that isn’t interested in informative local news. I think there is hope though, most major newspapers have found their feet on the online platform and are really starting to capitalize on mobile readers' attention. I think that we will see more hyper local news in the near future.