by MALCOLM ABRAMS
Bloomington needs The Herald-Times. Even in its diminutive form, it serves a vital function in our community. And without it, bad things can happen.
Since 2004, more than 2,000 newspapers have shut down. That’s one out of every five in the country. The number of employed print journalists has been cut in half.
According to a study at the University of Notre Dame, a community that loses its newspaper will likely see the cost of local government increase by 30 percent over five years. In the worst-case scenerio, that’s because of graft and other unlawful activity. But even in the purest of local governments, there’s a tendency to spend more when there is no media oversight.
There is an argument that with social media, radio, and word-of-mouth, residents will still know what’s going on without newspapers. I think there’s a better argument that newspapers are needed more than ever because of the misinformation on social media and how it spreads by word of mouth. And while our local radio stations do an admirable job, in a few minutes of local news airtime they can’t come close to reporting in detail what has transpired at a city council meeting, in a courtroom, or at a protest march.
The editorial staff at The H-T had already been cut significantly under the old ownership. Under the new absent owner, it has continued to dwindle. But the small contingent that remains is doing a commendable job of at least reporting on the most important issues of the day.
I know there are many people who over the years have sworn off The Herald-Times. They have a variety reasons, some valid, some maybe not. But the long-time owner, publisher, and editor are gone, so whatever the grudge, it’s time to let go.
Woefully understaffed and in the midst of a pandemic, I believe that the reporters and editors at The H-T are doing their jobs professionally and as best they can. They deserve our support. And we need a daily newspaper.