Guebert says the loss of journalism jobs between the coasts “is a critical reason why rural America has become increasingly easy to define (We’re red, right?) and increasingly marginalized. There are fewer on-the-ground public sources out here to challenge the beliefs that coastals — and politicians — perpetuate from their East Coast/West Coast enclaves. Worse, it’s an awful fact that less journalism is being conducted in rural America now just as its citizens face challenging public issues like water quality, poverty, declining population, eroding tax bases, exploding addiction rates, critical infrastructure needs, and failing schools.”
Those issues will be covered not by coastals, but by “local reporters armed with local facts drawn from local public officials and their non-local corporate sponsors so local citizens — you and I — can make the best, informed choices for our collective local future,” Guebert writes. “Their local quest, though, isn’t just professional; it’s also personal. They live in the community they serve. You can chat with them in their office or complain to them over a burger at the local diner. They’re at church, the school board meeting, the bank, the T-ball game. And, no, they’ll never have their own YouTube channel because they’re professional listeners, not overpaid shouters. They live to deliver numbers and nuance; information and insight; scoops, not scandals. To them issues are decided by one metric, facts, not a color like blue or red. They are rocks, not rock stars. It’s been my greatest professional privilege to be a part that local effort for 25 years. Thank you.” Read the entire column here.