The crisis in local journalism has become a crisis of democracy


From 1990 to 2016, the number of newspaper employees in the United States dropped from from 456,300 to about 183,000, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Those numbers understate the decline in many areas. For instance, in the 1990s, the San Jose Mercury News, a major newspaper in Northern California, employed 400 union-represented journalists. But in a recent count by the newspaper union, the number of unionized newsroom staffers in the South Bay for Bay Area News Group, which includes the Mercury News, was down to 41.

The crisis in journalism has turned into a crisis of democracy. In concrete terms, what does that really mean?

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