When newspapers wither, corruption increases

February 26, 2009

negggwspapers2I have a close friend who has been in the newspaper business longer than I have actively pursued journalism. This point, that when a community newspaper dies, inevitably corruption increases, is one she makes time and again. I trust her because she’s worked at a number of community newspapers in my home state, several in small towns and rural areas—areas she would often visit after one had lost its paper.

This New Republic piece elaborates further on the consequences of losing our watchdogs.

A graf:

One danger of reduced news coverage is to the integrity of government. It is not just a speculative proposition that corruption is more likely to flourish when those in power have less reason to fear exposure. The World Bank produces an annual index of political corruption around the world, based on surveys of people who do business in each country. In a study published in 2003 in The Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Alicia Adsera, Carles Boix, and Mark Payne examine the relationship between corruption and “free circulation of daily newspapers per person” (a measure of both news circulation and freedom of the press). … Using different measures, they also find a similar relationship across states within the United States: the lower the news circulation, the greater the corruption

Overall it’s a lengthy piece, so will take some time.  For someone in the blogosphere who’s particularly adept at dismantling arguments about who, precisely, is at fault for all this, you should regularly read Athenae over at First Draft.


One comment

  1. Keep on pushing you have a good cause.

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