In this second decade of the 21st century, fewer and fewer of us have newspapers delivered to our home, relying instead on more easily available, internet-based sources for both news and entertainment. In some respects we have immediate access to more information than ever before. But as some advocates of local public engagement have noted, a drawback to this new form of consumption may be less access to local news and information vital to vibrant local democracy. A recent study from the Pew Research Center looks at trends in public information about local issues:
“Taken together, the data illustrate that when it comes to news ecologies, the greater digital orientation and array of providers in Denver widen the local news system somewhat with less reliance on the major legacy providers, especially the local newspaper, and a greater mix of coverage more often driven by enterprising work from journalists,” the report’s authors conclude. “The portion of the population finding that enterprising work, though, remains small.” It is worth bearing in mind that the report provides case studies, not a comprehensive national picture.