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Journalism Panel to Discuss Urgent Issues

Published on 1/13/2023
The January membership meeting of LWV/BWC will take place in person and by Zoom from 10 a.m. to noon on January 28 at the Encore Room of the Mount Baker Theater. The main event will be a panel of local journalists, who will answer our questions about access to local news, a matter of mounting concern.

Local newspapers, whether in print or online, are disappearing in our country and our state. Between 2005 and 2020 Washington lost 24 weeklies and three dailies, and newsrooms throughout the state have lost 67% of their staff (vs 50% lost nationwide). Of the remaining papers, half are owned by hedge funds and other non-journalistic enterprises. Many communities are “news deserts,” without even a single source of local news.

Why does this matter? Lack of responsible local reporting results in voters who are uninformed about local issues, official actions, and candidate views—and vulnerable to misinformation and deception on social media. Statistics show that democracy itself suffers: people don’t vote, partisanship becomes more strident, and civic engagement declines. Find the LWVWA study of these problems here.

In February members will be asked to take part in a consensus discussion to develop a new LWVWA position on local news media.