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Socratic SMACKDOWN: Is the decline of the local newpaper a threat to democracy?

Key Concepts

First Amendment

The first amendment of the U.S. Constitution guarantees, among other freedoms of expression, the freedom of the press.

The Fourth Estate

The idea that the news media serves as a watchdog over the three politically driven branches of government.  The concept is briefly outlined here.

Local vs. Global News

Refers to the "point-of-view" from which news is collected.  Local news is gathered and report4ed by journalists who are a part of and immersed in a community.  Global news is consolidated by organizations outside of the local community, such as The Associated Press.

The Forum

Any place where ideas are discussed and debated by the general population.  These may occur in person or online.

The Public Record

Information created by a government agent or officer that is publicly archived and available.  Traditionally, local newspapers have served as the publication point for public records within the community. 

Freedom of Information Act

The FOIA is federal legislation that grants public access to documents or other data in the possession of a government agency or public authority, unless that information falls into one of nine category that is specifically excluded from the terms of the legislation.

A Case Study in Newspaper Acquisition

KEYWORDS: "Alden Global Capital" "Digital First Media"  "Gannett Publishing"

April 16, 2018

At Tribune, a Huckuva Page-TurnerCrain's Chicago Business.

May 1, 2018

Alden Global Capital Is Making So Much Money Wrecking Local Journalism It Might Not Want To Stop Anytime SoonNieman Lab

May 7, 2018

Rejected Denver Post Editorial Decries ‘Outright Censorship’ At Digital First Papers. Columbia Journalism Review 

September 26, 2018

Billionaires, Buyouts, And A Newspaper Empire In The Balance: The Continuing Saga Of Tronc The Ringer

November 7, 2018

Tech Billionaires From Bezos To Benioff Are Buying Media Companies, But 'New York Times Is Not For Sale'. CNBC

November 9, 2018

Publisher Cites ‘Financial Impact’ Of Newsroom Massacre, Offers BuyoutsHuffpost

December 12, 2018

Tribune, Tronc, and Beyond: A Slur, a Secret Payout and a Looming Sale. NPR

January 13, 2019

Digital First Media Eyes Buyout Of USA Today Publisher GannettMarketWatch

January 14, 2019

Hedge Fund Called ‘Destroyer Of Newspapers’ Bids For USA Today Owner Gannett New York Times

January 16, 2019

When Digital First Media, Gannett's Hostile Suitor, Comes To TownUSA Today

February 4, 2019 

Gannet rejects #1.36 billion buyout from Digital First Media. Chicago Tribune

March 21, 2019

Digital First Media Moves To Secure Financing In Hostile $1.7 Billion Bid For GannettMediapost

March 26, 2019

Is Digital First’S Takeover Bid For Gannett Just A Ploy? Gannett Thinks So. Poynter

April 26, 2019

Under Federal Investigation, Alden Pulls Half Its Proposed Gannett Takeover Slate Newsguild

May 7, 2019

On World Press Freedom Day, Newsguild Warns Of Danger To Local News; Urges Shareholders To Reject Alden’S Hostile Bid For GannettNewsguild


State of the Media 
Pew Research Center

The Expanding News Desert
2018 report by P.M. Abernathy
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Decline in Readers, Ads Leads hundreds of Newspapers to Fold
by D. Bauder and D. Lieb., March 12, 2019

The Hard Truth at Newspapers Across America: Hedge Funds are in Charge
by Gerri Smith, May 22, 2018

The Hidden Costs Of Losing Your City's Newspaper
by Kriston Capps, CityLab. May 30, 2018

If Small Newspapers Are Going To Survive, They’ll Have To Be More Than Passive Observers To The News
by Christopher Ali and Damian Radcliffe. Nieman Lab, February 2, 2017 

Local Newspapers Are Dying — Here And Around The Nation|
by Dan Kennedy, OP-ED, WGBH News, October 24, 2018

A Public Record At Risk: The Dire State Of News Archiving In The Digital Age
by S. Ringal and A. Woodall, Columbia Journalism Review. March 28, 2019

Small-Market Newspapers In The Digital Age
by Christopher Ali and Damian Radcliffe, Columbia Journalism Review. November 15, 2017 

To Strengthen Democracy, Read Your Newspaper - Common Cause
by D. Eisman, Common Cause, May 9, 2018.  OP-ED  

What Is Credibility Made Of?
by A. Ovadaya, Columbia Journalism Review. March 21, 2019.  

What Will Happen When Newspapers Kill Print And Go Online-Only? Most Of That Print Audience Will Just…Disappear
by Joshua Benton. Nieman Lab, September 26, 2018.

With No Newspapers, as Thomas Jefferson Knew, Democracy Suffers
by B. Cardin,  U.S. News and World Reports, May 4, 2009 OP-ED

What Is Happening To Television News?
by R.K. Nielson and R. Sambrook, Digital News Project, Reuter's Institute. 2016

“Were it left to me to decide if we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.”
~Thomas Jefferson

Library Information and Media Center - Monona Grove High School - Monona, Wisconsin

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