Regional newspapers were a valuable source of news for many towns and cities in the United States. Many major metropolitan cities across the United States had at least two regional papers. Some larger cities had more. When a city had two regional papers one paper would be more conservative the other a little more liberal. Whatever the case the reader had a choice between two perspectives on the local news.
Corporate media groups have gobbled many regional newspapers across a wide swath of U.S. cities. Technology played a part in the decline of regional newspaper. Photocomposition, also known as cold type, replaced the Linotype press. Many skilled workers were put out of a job. Offset printing, which was lighter and cheaper, eventually replaced the Linotype. These factors combined to increase the bulk market value of newspapers. Heirs to these usually family owned regional newspapers could no longer bear the estate taxes forcing them to sell out to corporate media chains.
Family owned regional newspapers were quickly turned into public stock that was in turn were sold to large chains such as Gannet and Knight-Ridder.
Regional newspapers were no longer a public service, now the emphasis was on profit. The larger newspaper chains had political interests. The news was now lensed through politics. Political pressure created sanitized news. Any political opposition was quickly forced to the back pages or ignored completely.
The advent of the Internet forced further consolidation of corporate media. Newsroom staff member jobs were cut.
On the other hand the Internet has brought us independent bloggers and niche Internet radio that can bring us the important issues we face something the lamestream doesn’t want to talk about.
“That kind of news is available only in the local paper. It’s not the type of journalism that topples governments or uncovers the latest celebrity scandal, but the role of the local newspaper is arguably just as important.”