Editorial: As the industry evolves, local news outlets remain essential

As the news industry faces the challenges of a digital transition and popular national news outlets focus on political and sensationalized topics, the importance of local news outlets is more evident than ever before.

National publications have largely succumbed to political tensions in Washington, with an emphasis on partisanism on both sides of the aisle. This highlights the important content local — and yes, student news — outlets produce.

Do a quick Google search of the ongoing Flint water crisis, and you will find that some of the few news organizations still covering the plight are Michigan news outlets such as the Detroit Free Press and Michigan Radio. Local media works best when the national press’ focus on these stories dwindle.  

This is also the case for news outlets in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, including The Shorthorn.

This semester, The Shorthorn is celebrating 100 years as the university’s student-run publication. In those 100 years, The Shorthorn broke news on many Arlington- and UTA-centered stories. The firing of men’s basketball coach Scott Cross last spring and the cause of student Alan Amaya’s death last semester are two examples.

This is not a brag. This is an emphasis on the importance of news that organizations like CNN and others would not even consider covering. Nor should they.

That’s why our role will remain significant, even when the transition of news from print to digital faces creative and financial setbacks.

The Dallas Morning News, struggling to advance its subscription-based news model, laid off 43 employees last week, indicating a failure to expand its reach. This does not reduce the importance of the role of local news outlets. In fact, it enhances it.

Our ever-adapting approach to news is beneficial to you, the reader, and us, the provider. A subscription page that prevents you from reading an article you couldn’t find anywhere else should pull you into buying a subscription to said news organization. There’s power in contribution to your information providers.

The Shorthorn is not a subscription-based news provider, but it still needs you, the reader. Our focus this semester and every semester after is to put digital first. This new creative outlet allows us as students to break the mold of traditional reporting and venture into new ways of providing information to you. We print weekly, but we also provide content online every day throughout the semester and into the summer.

The consumption of local news is part of contributing to your community. And so, The Shorthorn, entering its centennial year, suggests a simple and mutually-beneficial plan of action for our readers: Contribute to your community and read on.

The Shorthorn Editorial Board is made up of opinion editor Jacob Reyes; Editor-in-Chief Reese Oxner; associate news editor Amanda Padilla; Carmina Tiscareño, life and entertainment editor; social media editor Narda Pérez; Shay Cohen, copy editor and multimedia journalist; and Zaria Turner, life and entertainment reporter.

News reporter Angelica Perez participated and voted in place of Turner, who was not yet a voting member of the board at the time of this meeting.

@utashorthorn

opinion-editor.shorthorn@uta.edu

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