Daily VideoDecember 23, 2019
How the disappearance of local news hurts civic engagement
Directions: Read the summary, watch the video and answer the questions. You can turn on the “CC” (closed-captions) function and read along with the transcript here.
Summary: Over the last 15 years, local newspapers across the U.S. have lost more than $35 billion in advertising revenue and half of their staffs, while at least 2,000 news outlets have shuttered during that time, according to a new study by the non-profit PEN America. Viktorya Vilk, who co-authored the report, discusses how the decline of local news is impacting civic engagement.
Discussion questions: (Choose the questions that best apply to your class.)
- Focus question: How is the decline of local news impacting civic engagement?
- What were some of the findings of the Pen America study?
- Does your town or community have a local newspaper or online news site? If you’re not sure, how could you find out?
- What is a news desert? What are the effects of the growth of news deserts on a democratic society?
- What types of stories do local news reporters cover?
- Why do you think the study found that social media was not a good replacement for local news coverage?
- Why are underserved communities the most severely affected by the lack of local news organizations?
- Why do you think studies have shown an increase in corruption if local news outlets do not exist to cover school board meetings, city council meetings, public utility meetings and other local issues?
- Media literacy: Ask your family where they get their local news. Do they subscribe to a local newspaper? If not, why not? If your community or region does not have a local news source, how can citizens know about important issues? What are some solutions to this problem?
The closing of local newsrooms can create “news deserts,” areas with limited access to news outlets. If time allows, watch these two news stories. The first video focuses on recent studies showing how democracy is affected when local newspapers close and the second centers on the effects of mass news layoffs. Why are low-income areas affected the most?
For monthly updates containing teacher resources on Election 2020, click here.
Sign up for short education highlights from the PBS NewsHour here.
Tooltip of related stories
Tooltip of more video block
Submit Your Student Voice
Reflect on one teacher’s project to help students see the living history in their own time Continue reading
Discuss the film One Night in Miami and the reasons it was made Continue reading
What do you think federal and local authorities should do in response to an emergency like the storms in Texas? Continue reading
Discuss the significance of NASA’s latest mission to Mars. Continue reading
Classroom Resource: Is the recent wave of severe weather across the U.S. a harbinger for climate change?
Discuss the extreme winter weather this week and how it might be linked to climate change Continue reading