EDITORIAL: Support local journalism

With the rise of cable news networks, online publications and social media, it can be difficult to receive accurate and reliable news. Suddenly, with a camera phone and a Twitter account, it seems like anyone can be a journalist. Cable news outlets such as Fox News and CNN have clear biases that take away from their delivery of the facts. It seems new websites pop up daily, with each claiming they have credible sources and information not available anywhere else.

In an age when news is instantaneous, leading to the rise of inaccurate and misleading information, it seems difficult to know which news outlets to trust. But never fear, because local journalism is the answer.

Fifty or so years ago, and continuing for decades, the American people read their daily newspapers each morning while sitting at the breakfast table drinking coffee. At the end of the day, they watched the evening news on their television sets. This dynamic has changed because of technology, social media and the like, but it doesn’t mean these news mediums have disappeared entirely.

Take the local newspaper, for example. Huntington’s The Herald-Dispatch has recently ceased its Monday print publication. They’ve eliminated entire sections from the print edition, and subsequently, some reporters were negatively affected. But while print publications are suffering, they are not dying. And they will not ever die with community support. 

Marshall University students are fortunate. The Parthenon is available to you once a week in print and online daily, all for no cost. The staff is also fortunate to report freely on issues that matter most to Marshall students without restrictions. If you are reading this right now, chances are you are a Marshall student, faculty or staff member. And while we thank students especially for your support, we also deeply encourage you to support other local publications once you graduate and enter the real world. Sure, it won’t be free, but the cost of truthful and honest journalism is certainly worth it. Journalists are providing a service, and they deserve to be compensated for their work through subscriptions. 

And what about local TV journalists? They also need our continued support. Turn off Fox News, CNN or any other corrupted cable news outlets. If you want to learn about local issues and local people, there is nowhere better than local news. A national news channel may report on large issues happening near us, but those anchors and reporters do not care as much as those locally do. 

When it comes to social media, local news organizations are not dinosaurs. They have their own accounts, and you can also follow local reporters; they’re a terrific source for breaking news. Yes, the world of news may be changing, but local news is keeping up. Local news accounts post videos, links and photos that may not be found in print or on TV. Local journalists are a resource that we can, and should, utilize. If you help them, they will help you, too. 

Support local news outlets, sure, but also support freelancers or student journalists. Most importantly, support those affected by cutbacks or lost funding. 

Trustworthiness, friendliness, honesty, hard-hitting, features on local people…these are just a few reasons to support local journalism. Find your own.