Ray Kisonas’s Sunday article, “Doors will be open and phone calls will be easier,” raises concerns that readers have called about. I have consistently called about diminished local news coverage and concerns about the loss of police news.
These issues have only grown as witnessed on many social media platforms. Worries about crime and traffic lawlessness has hit a fevered level in many communities. Frustration builds from a lack of information released about recent crimes that is rumored on social media. Crime outbreaks have spawned calls for increased policing and the formation of block watches in communities like Whiteford Township.
Facebook sites spew hate and rumors from lack of information. Some posters, out of frustration, call for vigilante justice. Lack of funding for increased policing leaves communities without protection.
In a wild west, the mentality of “you’re on your own” takes hold. Area urban sprawl by over-development continues unabated without addressing the true costs to communities.
Rural communities continue to be underserved by news outlets with very few following all township meetings, which raises concerns about corrupting influences well below the public radar. It’s become so bad that some townships do not feel the need to post monthly meeting minutes. I’ve reminded several townships about posting detailed monthly minutes as required by the Open Meetings Act.
So when the editor says they follow these townships I have to wonder how that is done? I’ve been contacted anonymously about nefarious behavior going on in several townships, but not knowing all the facts makes me wonder. I even wonder if the newspaper has been alerted to these.
The loss of local readership is a huge factor in contributing to an ignorant populous. I’ve found Facebook to be a biggest contributor to this ignorance. Most sites have a political bias and will not allow a civil discussion from differing angles. If it does happen, it soon breaks down from unmanaged bots and trolls poisoning the thread.
Many posters are woefully uninformed about state and local politics. Administrators of these sites do not appear trained at all in managing these social media sites often contributing to the problem. So a perfect storm builds on grievance and anger without facts.
If I could wave a magic wand and force people to support local newspapers I would. I would convince our politicians to see the need to protect them from corporate buyouts for profit.
Newspapers should be a specially protected class in a functioning government. It saddens me to see people get their news from propaganda social media sites while not seeing newspapers as the true defenders of our democratic way of life.
Paul Wohlfarth lives in Riga Township and is retired from Chrysler Motors. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.