media in the 21st century
No One Is Covering the Big Apple

The journalism professor Greg David highlights the remarkable collapse in reporting on America’s largest city:

For the week beginning Jan. 29, The New York Times published 48 stories on New York. That’s less than half the 109 stories for the same week in 2009 and less than a third of the 153 stories in 2001.

Meanwhile in Queens, with 2.3 million residents, 35,000 major crimes a year and 200,000 criminal cases annually, the pressroom at the courthouse is locked because no one wants to use it.

The shift away from local coverage has a lot to do with the changing market pressures that define the modern media landscape. But the political and ideological ethos of the people who work in news is probably also at play. That New York City is dominated by Democrats might make the urban corruption stories less interesting to the left-leaning press corps, for example. And the fact that journalists, like most college-educated professionals, are often more cosmopolitan in their orientation can create blind spots about local issues.

Regardless of the underlying causes, this is a serious institutional failure that is bad for New Yorkers and Americans at large.

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