Stamato Commentary: Believe in democracy? Then, I’ve got some bad news for you.

February 4, 2024

Faculty Fellow Linda Stamato highlights the critical challenges faced by local journalism in the United States. With over 2,000 local newspapers closing in the last two decades, many communities are left without access to independent news, leading to poorly informed citizens. Journalists are increasingly under threat, facing physical assaults and legal battles. Instances of attacks on press freedom are on the rise, with politicians comfortable condemning media outlets and resorting to legal measures to suppress reporting they deem unfavorable.

Stamato points out that the financial strain on small newsrooms due to lawsuits poses a significant threat to their survival. In some cases, even when legal battles are won, the cost of defense can be prohibitive. The erosion of public trust in mainstream media, exemplified by attacks from political figures, further exacerbates the challenges faced by the press. The piece underscores the importance of independent journalism in a functioning democracy, emphasizing that citizens need reliable information to make informed decisions. The article calls for public awareness and support for local news outlets, as well as legislative measures to safeguard and enhance the role of a free and independent press in the country.

NJ.com, February 4, 2023

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