Less local news leads to lower voter turnout, less civic participation in Parent Teacher Associations and other groups, more corruption, higher taxes, and lower bond ratings. And in general it makes it harder for voters to hold elected officials accountable, and for communities to solve their problems.
In the past, government has devised policies that protected editorial independence. The Founding Fathers believed it was crucial to have not just the right to a free press but the reality of a functioning free press. So they decided to give a massive subsidy to newspapers. The Post Office Act of 1792 gave a lower postage rate to newspapers. In 1801, 45 percent of all pieces of mail were periodicals but the publications covered only 8 percent of the costs.