News

It was only seven days ago that we told you about The Stranger, the Seattle alt-(bi)weekly that was facing a financial crisis because of the city’s response to the coronavirus outbreak, which shut down concerts, bars, restaurants, and so many other events that provide the advertising fuel for an alt-weekly.

We are living through the unprecedented experience of a global pandemic. With COVID-19 canceling social gatherings around the world, we at Queen City Nerve want to do our best to support the well-being of our staff, delivery drivers, loved ones and readers. Since the county has issued an order to cancel or postpone events involving more than 50 people, many Charlotteans will be staying in and limiting their social activities outside of the house.

Today, the hallways of the Florida Press Center are quiet. Few politicians make their way through the building and only seven news organizations are still housed there—two of them digital-only operations that didn’t exist a decade ago.

The connection is no coincidence, says Rubado. “If there’s nobody reporting on or providing information about candidates, about legislation, about how money is being spent, or the budgeting process, how will people know that they require a quality challenger to unseat an ineffective mayor?” she said. “They don’t know the mayor is ineffective!”

It almost seems impossible to ignore national politics today. The stream of stories about the president and Congress is endless; whether online, in print or on television, it’s never been easier to follow the action.

When local newspapers shut their doors, communities lose out. People and their stories can't find coverage. Politicos take liberties when it's nobody's job to hold them accountable. What the public doesn't know winds up hurting them. The city feels poorer, politically and culturally.

According to a new working paper, local news deserts lose out financially too. Cities where newspapers closed up shop saw increases in government costs as a result of the lack of scrutiny over local deals, say researchers who tracked the decline of local news outlets between 1996 and 2015.