A recent column in the Tampa Bay Times by Leonard Pitts referenced a study conducted by the University of North Carolina’s School of Media and Journalism describing the plight of local newspapers in the country.

I located the study online and learned that about 1,800 or 20% of all metro and community newspapers in the United States have gone out of business or merged since 2004. Hundreds more have drastically scaled back on coverage, and nearly all of the rest have scaled back somewhat.

The researchers concluded that our “... sense of community and our trust in democracy at all levels suffers when journalism is lost or diminished. In an age of fake news and divisive politics, the fate of communities across the country — and of grassroots democracy itself — is linked to the vitality of local journalism.”

Good luck to folks in those 1,800 communities if they’re now having to rely on social media to keep up with local news and events.

Thankfully, I can still find the Chronicle on my driveway each morning.

Gary Rankel

Citrus Hills

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(1) comment

CitrusCo Citizen

Actually, the Citrus County Chronicle provides very little updated news about the most serious issues in Citrus County: Suncoast tollroad construction, natural gas pipelines, high tide flooding, future plans of Duke and liquid natural gas container construction, solar energy, agricultural lands and farming, Rainbow River conditions with respect to nitrates and pumping, septic tank funds, etc. etc. All of that news comes from Facebook--there are special groups for each of these topics and all of the meetings, legislative bills that benefit or do not benefit Citrus County, upcoming plans, route maps etc. are reported there. Then the Chronicle MIGHT report some of that about two weeks later. I don't rely on getting timely, current local IMPORTANT news from the Chronicle--I get it first on Facebook, then crosscheck it with the Ocala Star Banner, the Orlando Sentinel and the Tampa Bay Times, to determine impact and veracity. And then I read the Chronicle and usually it's . . . "crickets" or news focusing on each new gas station or fast food joint, fundraiser, awards, or crimes But I will always support my home-county newspaper--just because.

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