Letter: We need truly local news

Graphic by Lori Deaton

Columnist John Boyle had great points in his recent piece about leaving the very corporate Citizen Times [“From Asheville Watchdog: Why I Really Left the Asheville Citizen-Times,” Nov. 7, Xpress website]. It shows why local journalism is critical to a community’s holistic health.

Our lives in this democratic country do not exist in a void, and we need to know about the institutions that provide essential services and a safe, livable environment — like government, schools and hospitals.

Corporations, too, need to be held accountable to the consumer, and so it is hard when the newsroom itself is run by corporate interests — by a bottom line.

The average working person does not have time to research ethical concerns at a public agency or safety issues associated with a neighborhood’s water supply, so the closer news can get to a community, the more useful the media is to residents’ lives.

I am not trying to portray the Citizen Times as all bad; I see them trying to provide transparency in the HCA-Mission Health merger, for example. But compared with Asheville Watchdog and Mountain Xpress, which are hyperlocal and reader-driven, Gannett does not compare. Even a social media site like Nextdoor has value because it is so locally focused.

As many organizations in our country go corporate, we must remember corporations are not bad in themselves, but when profit is put over people, the devil is in the details.

Like with government, local news affects our lives more than national news, and we need local news now more than ever!

— Aaron Kohrs
Alexandria, Va.

Editor’s note: The writer reports being a Western North Carolina native and lifelong resident who just moved to northern Virginia but still keeps up with WNC happenings.


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