The Demise of Hyper-Local Journalism Undermines Community
By HEZI ARIS

eHezi Community, Culture, Governance, Hezitorial, History, New York State, People, Political Analysis, Politics 3 Comments

The Hezitorial Regarding Journalism

Bronxville Tribune / Yonkers Tribune / Mount Vernon Tribune / Westchester Tribune Publisher / Editor-at-Large and WHYT Radio’s Westchester On the Level Host Hezi Aris.

YONKERS, NY — December 12, 2019 — Some people suggest that the hyper-local news market undermined itself over the last two decades. Those times were simpler, less sophisticated, and timid in its exposure of pertinent information on the local, state, and national plane. In those days, the populace was not as well informed as they may have thought. There were many outlets that did excellent work, especially when they were permitted to report the news, as opposed to the fiscal and political demands that would come to undermine the cohesiveness of community. It was not too long ago suggested that people were stressed by reading, listening, as well as watching the news. Psychiatrists and psychologists suggested it was best to decompress from the stresses of an ever changing landscape of personal, business, and social pressures.

The Internet sated some of our fragile albeit complex needs. Social media became the marketplace which many thought would be a gathering place for us to socialize, develop relationships, and gain insight to hyperlocal news that was alas sanitized of much integrity. Our capacity to relate to one another waned, eclipsed by the superficiality of the Internet, as well as its lack of social intimacy, passion, cerebral and physical. Our reality changed in digital degrees.

Our world moved from the real, to the “almost” real. We were seduced by the power of search engines for facts, not always able to discern fact from fiction, or even outright falsehood.  The world which nurtured us in the past was not socially acceptable. It was in fact incongruous with an ever burgeoning reality.

Governments initially responded by meeting the needs of those still involved by engaging social media to give expression to their demeanor; on target, off target, or simply wishful thinking. Outcome, whether intentioned or not, became a power play of forthright reporting in juxtaposition to the mirage painted before the gullible. What was down, was said to be up. Prominence would come to be defined as “power”, whether in relationships, societal structures, and/or business. Denial of fact(s), led to chastising, demeaning, and denigrating those who had the audacity to question. The divisions of the present are subsumed by the faux world and quackery of the digital divide whether in print or in digital format.

Most people have become addicted to the mesmerizing, entrancing, and seductive opioids that enter our minds via social media, digitally, in print, from radio, of TV. Many of us are lost whether old or young. We do not possess the ingredients to extricate ourselves from the make believe.

One of the most debilitating aspects of our present is that we engage in less discourse than ever before. We have become segregated and cloistered by and within our minds, becoming less capable to interact with the real world in all its complexities and challenges.

The fault line is often the bottom line. Yes, it is money!

News reporting today has moved from delving into the most pertinent issues that define our needs and aspirations. Those concerns are gleaned locally. That was then, and for too many, no longer.

Our residence is our center. It is where we have created a relationship, perhaps begat children from our love for another. Earning capacity is most pertinent. We engage with friends and share a meal at home or at a restaurant. We focus on the safety of where we reside for our sake and those we love. We worry over whether our children are getting a good education. Taxes impact us. Emergency services; police, fire, and ambulance response impact us. Yet our concerns and the options which we may not be aware, are hidden from us. While not the panacea, hyperlocal news is relevant but has waned when it was needed most.

Hyper-local news reporting, unadulterated by dogma, is close to extinction in our epoch, yet societal benefits have been revealed in Josh Stearns’ article “How We Know Journalism Is Good For Democracy

While mainstream media is undermined financially and thereby under siege, digital media is cautiously becoming more relevant in responding to the visceral needs and desires of those who have gravitated to the new media. In addition to, though not necessarily supplanting mainstream media. The recently consummated GateHouse Media’s purchase of Gannett have seemingly relinquished societal responsibility to that of the almighty dollar. 200 hundred people were made redundant at the Journal News alone last Thursday. More are expected to be fired by February 2020. The Journal News covers Westchester, Rockland, and Orange Counties. Westchester County has a population of some 1.2 million residents alone, yet the circulation of the Journal News/LoHud is noted to be under 25,000 in print and digitally. 

One of the most deleterious aspects of the various digital media outlets is that they are not supported by the various advertising agencies who instead prefer to guide their clients to advertise in print publications. The cost to advertise in print may be $3,000-$5,000 a page for one time, as opposed to having the capacity to be online for the same price for a year, 24/7.

Undermining print is the fact that reporting, once balanced in its reporting expression leans either right or left, and in doing so, the owner of media may insinuate political dogma that undermines the integrity of the reporting in deference to the mighty dollar over the integrity of the reporting.    

The most prominent concern is that should main stream media not focus on meeting the needs of the communities it once served well, they will stunt their longevity by not being responsive to those whom they suggest they serve. 

Digital media has found its niche, the hyperlocal market, due to the lack of interest and abandonment of main stream media who chose to depart the scene. What was the catalyst that caused mainstream media to depart the hyperlocal marketplace? No matter the blunder and rationale, It has become evident that it continues to gut the depth of their reporting staff, the Journal News/LoHud operation will not be able to return to a fiscally sound state.

The Journal News/LoHud operation demands introspection by mainstream media operations which has redefined itself by fact of the merger, but its rationale and vision has yet to be revealed to the reader.

In light of the gargantuan upheaval to the world of media, the Yonkers Tribune asks if we keep you informed, are relevant to your concerns, engage you intellectually regarding concerns and issues that also delve into other disciplines and teachings. Praise is welcome! As importantly, please share deficiencies you have come to recognize. Our intent is to find remedy and balance to the best of our capacity.

 

eHeziThe Demise of Hyper-Local Journalism Undermines Community
By HEZI ARIS

Comments 3

  1. The Journal News is a perfect illustration of the extent to which a small number of extremely wealthy corporate conglomerates control vast segments of the media industry in this country. As a result, critical journalism becomes secondary to the pursuit of profits.

    The Journal News is owned by Gannett, which owns over 100 (!) newspapers, including USA Today, the Detroit Free Press, The Indianapolis Star, The Cincinnati Enquirer, The Tennessean in Nashville, Tennessee, The Courier-Journal in Louisville, Kentucky, the Democrat and Chronicle in Rochester, New York, The Des Moines Register, The Arizona Republic in Phoenix, Arizona, The News-Press in Fort Myers, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, and the Great Falls Tribune, among many others.

    Gannett’s recent merger with GateHouse Media had private equity firms, CEOs and stockholders salivating, while the company talked about cost-cutting and layoffs (multi-million dollar executive salaries and compensations packages were safe, though).

    From an article on the merger:

    “New Media Investment Group said Monday that it reached a deal to acquire Gannett, which owns USA TODAY and more than 100 other daily publications and digital marketing services such as ReachLocal.

    Pittsford, New York-based GateHouse, the operating subsidiary of New Media Investment Group, will combine with McLean, Virginia-based Gannett, the larger of the two companies, in a cash-and-stock deal worth about $1.38 billion and financed in part with new private-equity debt.

    Together, the two companies would operate more than 260 daily news operations – far more than any other U.S. news publisher – and boast potentially the largest online audience of any American news provider.”

    (USA Today: “GateHouse Media owner to acquire USA TODAY owner Gannett,” August 5, 2019)

    Good luck following the trail of money and subsidiaries. The days of your local newspaper are long gone. Corporate America has infiltrated virtually every aspect of life in America, from healthcare, media and entertainment to education, politics, housing, infrastructure and the food supply. The business of news and the mass media has always been about manufacturing consent.

  2. They should cover the city worker that abducted the transgender prostitute that has been swept under the carpet.

    HEZI NOTE: That is an outrageous LIE. IT never happened. There was no such incident AT ALL, not even anything akin to your concocted story. If you are repeated something that your heard from about the incident as your described, they made a fool of you. I respectfully suggest they prove it to you. I already know it didn’t happen. I am not in the business of maligning the men/ women in Blue. I respect almost all of them. There are however some who i do not respect. I think they do not amount to more than three. Remember one thing, the only thing that matters to me, which evidently doesn’t seem to matter to you. I report the news; I do not make it up; I do not embellish anything beyond the reality; and I do NOT LIE. Better luck next time. Your hoax is a failure. — I hope we understand one another. Kindly, Hezi

  3. This is perhaps the most acutely poignant observation on the state of our culture I’ve read to date. It bobs and weaves around and through each topic and it’s aftermath like a Boxing Champion picking apart his opponent like a machine! I don’t think anyone could add a single word or nuance to this brilliantly articulated description of life in 2019!! Thank you for sharing!!

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