The sad state of local journalism | The Triangle

The sad state of local journalism

With print journalism on the decline all across the nation, it’s no surprise that our two largest local daily newspapers by circulation, The Philadelphia Inquirer and the Daily News, are attempting to downsize. They have been sold four times in the past six years, most recently on April 2 for a paltry $55 million. They also sold their historic headquarters in 2011. When the sale was announced, it was unclear what the purchaser, developer Bart Blatstein’s Tower Investments, would do with the building.
However, Blatstein announced April 12 that he wants to use the building as part of a new casino, entertainment and retail complex, with the building functioning as a hotel. While it is likely that this project will run into trouble acquiring the proper licenses to run a casino from the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, it’s a sad state of affairs when it is more valuable to run a casino than to provide quality local journalism.
This casino is not going to stop the Inquirer’s ability to report the news, but it is a bleak sign of the times. Despite the timeless necessity of journalists for long-term prosperity and social justice in society, the field of journalism now struggles to monetize itself enough to sustain its indispensable role as a watchdog.
Indeed, we cannot deny that today’s casinos pump more much-needed revenue into our weak economy than parts of the media do. This makes us wonder what we value more as a nation. Do we hold government revenue raised through the morally dubious means of gambling at a higher regard than the media’s assurance the public is being looked after? Do the ends of stimulating the economy and trying to salvage the city’s foremost news organization justify the means?
Sadly, this potential change may just be another event leading to the likely decline of print media. As a hardworking news organization filled with writers looking to have a career in journalism, this shifting societal mindset is something we think about often. While we are unsure of the opportunities the field will provide us in the future, we hope that there will still be a demand for dedicated reporters and the journalism field as a whole.
As a reader of The Triangle, you undoubtedly value accurate and quality reporting. Let’s support local journalism by being active readers who participate in the journalistic process. Send in story tips and share your opinions on blogs and social media. Write letters to the editor of the publications you frequently read. Ultimately, it is your demand for print media that will keep organizations like the Inquirer or the Daily News from going under. Let’s work together to bring this to the city at large.