"An explosion of online news sources in recent years has not produced a corresponding increase in reporting, particularly quality local reporting, a federal study of the media has found.
Coverage of state governments and municipalities has receded at such an alarming pace that it has left government with more power than ever to set the agenda and have assertions unchallenged, concluded the study, which is to be released on Thursday.
“In many communities, we now face a shortage of local, professional, accountability reporting,” said the study, which was ordered by the Federal Communications Commission and written by Steven Waldman, a former journalist for Newsweek and U.S. News and World Report. “The independent watchdog function that the Founding Fathers envisioned for journalism — going so far as to call it crucial to a healthy democracy — is in some cases at risk at the local level.”
On Thursday, Mr. Waldman is to issue a number of recommendations, none binding. Those include making actual in-the-field reporting a part of the curriculum at journalism schools, steering more government advertising money toward local instead of national media and changing the tax code to encourage donations to nonprofit media organizations. "