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Saving Democracy Entails Saving Journalism and Journalists

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Newspapers and other forms of news media are disappearing in the wake of more people getting their news through social media,

The result, according to the Medill Local News Initiative, is that our democracy is being threatened; civic engagement is declining; political polarization is increasing; and misinformation proliferates.

Dr. Janice Collins, multiple Emmy winning journalist and award-winning educator, says that the loss of local news strikes at the bedrock of our society and imperils our democracy.,

Studies show that one-third of U.S. newspapers that existed in 2005 will be gone by the end of 2024. As a country, we are losing more than two newspapers a week leaving 6.4 percent of the country without any local news outlet.

Dr. Collins advocates that this crisis must be addressed at multiple levels. She asserts that more national support needs to be given to emerging local and hyper-local non-profit news efforts.

She also says that the news media must embrace the newest technologies and not shy away from innovation.

Dr. Collins suggests that news media must be more transparent on how they function, utilize research to target opportunities, and solicit and train citizen journalists to partner in news gathering and disseminating efforts.

While disheartened by the current demise of certain news media, Dr. Collins enthusiastically embraces the future of journalism and its role in society.

Dr. Collins is an associate professor of journalism at the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University.