The societal ramifications of the death of local journalism in the United States are as widespread as they are depressingly predictable. As Robert W. McChesney and John Nichols recently wrote in the Columbia Journalism Review, “It is not simply that functional self-government is impossible without credible journalism with all that forebodes; it is that local newspapers have provided the social glue that brought communities to life, as places where people see themselves as participating in a joint enterprise with people they know and understand and care about. That is disintegrating.”
In this segment of The Marc Steiner Show, Marc speaks with McChesney and Nichols about how the slow death of America’s journalism ecosystem in the digital age has corresponded with the disintegration of the social fabric of the American republic. They also discuss McChesney and Nichols’s proposal of a Local Journalism Initiative and how it could improve life for communities around the country. Robert W. McChesney is Professor Emeritus at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. John Nichols writes for The Nation and the Capital Times of Madison, Wisconsin. Along with cofounding Free Press with Josh Silver and Kimberly Longey in 2003, McChesney and Nichols have written several books on media and politics together, including most recently The Death and Life of American Journalism: The Media Revolution That Will Begin the World Again.