Separation because of the coronavirus pandemic is doing more than keeping us from socializing. In many cases, it has built a barrier between the public and their local news outlets.
As we continue to deal with unprecedented circumstances that seem to change literally by the hour, many people locked down in their homes may have nowhere to turn for reporting about the crisis in their own neighborhoods.
National news organizations tell us what is happening across the country and television media do well as they cover their regions. But they don’t offer stories about what is going on here and now.
Local news, delivered by newspapers, the internet or radio, can keep people informed about the latest meetings of local governments, school districts and planning boards. Even if meetings are sequestered because of the coronavirus, they can be live streamed on television, meaning local newspapers can cover them at a distance and report on them.
Local news media can update coronavirus statistics such as number of cases and bring stories about how the pandemic is affecting everything in the area, including local businesses and families, and from unemployment to how the hospital, first responders and health care workers are coping with this astonishing phenomenon.
Local news can unambiguously report stories meaningful to all of us in ways that national and regional news media can’t touch. If you have radio, keep it tuned to local programming. If you have the internet, you have access to local news websites. If you don’t have the internet and you can’t get to convenience store or grocery store to buy a newspaper, order a subscription.
The world is upside-down. That’s all the more reason to know what is happening. Local news has never been more important.