WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Local Reporters Breaking National Stories

Feb 26, 2014

The Shop Talk panelists discuss the crucial role local reporters sometimes play in uncovering significant stories.

The New York Times recently ran a piece about the work of local reporters who discovered the truth behind traffic jams on the George Washington Bridge between New York and New Jersey.

Meanwhile, a piece in Bloomberg Businessweek praised the local news reporting on the chemical spill into the Elk River in West Virginia. The spill tainted water supplies for around 300,000 people.

Shop Talk panelist Jasmine Garcia pointed out smaller local markets often lack experienced journalists because reporters – especially in TV – strive to move up to larger markets. Regarding the chemical spill, she said it was fortunate that veteran journalists from the Charleston Gazette worked in that market and knew who to contact and how to cover the story.

Panelist Lisa Kernek said the newspapers that broke both of these stories are locally owned.  She said that’s significant because family –owned papers generally put more resources into their product than papers owned by chains.

Panelist Rich Egger said many local radio and TV stations that were once family-run are also now owned by corporations.  He also said family-owned Quincy Newspapers, Inc. recently bought several more television stations in Illinois and other states. He’s interested to see how that affects the news operations in those markets.