Portland State University’s Lee Shaker recently published a paper, “Dead Newspapers and Citizens’ Civic Engagement,” that found civic engagement dropped in Denver and Seattle when the Rocky Mountain News and Seattle Post-Intelligencer stopped publishing. Denver’s decline was highest, with relative civic engagement dropping by nearly 30 percent (see chart on page 29).
Spoiler alert — these are the concluding sentences in Shaker’s paper:
Ultimately, if we desire healthy and productive democratic communities, then the provisioning of local news –- which helps tie citizens to each other and their communities –- must continue. Newspapers like the PI and Rocky may be gone, but a commitment to local news and information cannot be abandoned.
A draft of the paper can be found on Shaker’s website.