We cannot take local journalism for granted

By THE EDITORIAL BOARD | March 15, 2018

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Last Tuesday the Baltimore Beat, an alternative weekly newspaper which helped fill the void left by the City Paper, announced it was going out of print after only four months of publication. 

The Beat shined a spotlight on the everyday efforts and accomplishments of Baltimore citizens, everything from local youth arts programs to the Ceasefire Movement. We are saddened to see another valued outlet for local journalism close, especially after such a short time in print.

Local journalism tells the stories of people who might not get a voice in larger publications. It discusses events that affect the community on a personal level. These publications often take the initiative to critically examine citywide trends like neighborhood gentrification and police brutality. But beyond that, they elevate the voices that are frequently unheard, whether they are transgender sex workers or the many lives lost to gun violence.

At a time when local publications across the nation are facing increasing financial pressures, it’s more important than ever to pay attention to these local outlets. We are in a city that is grappling with how it is telling its own story. 

National outlets often seem enamored with scenes of crime, corruption and dismay in our city. Mayor Catherine Pugh seems to solely glamorize her office’s efforts and sees local journalists in an adversarial light, saying that the city has a “media problem.” 

The story of Baltimore is a lot more nuanced than how it is portrayed by the Mayor’s Office and outside news networks. Local journalists are here to uncover the truth, whether ugly or beautiful, with the hopes that informed readers will strive to make our City better. 

Especially in a time when we are confronting complex stories like the University’s proposal for a private police force or Baltimore high school students walking out of school calling for gun legislation, we need our local journalists more than ever. 

We urge our readers to critically think about the effort and time that goes into the articles that we read. Recent initiatives like the creation of the Baltimore Institute for Nonprofit Journalism offer hope that there are those who still value independent, accurate and critical reporting. 

The role of these local publications is more crucial than ever in continuing to tell the stories of our city.

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