Your town’s 150 year old newspaper folded a few years back because of dwindling readership, increased printing costs and the rise of internet news. The big city next to you lost its afternoon paper 15 years ago and only has one major daily left, which has doubled in price since 2010 while simultaneously shrinking in size by half, switching to a tabloid format and just reprinting copy from the USA Today and AP for about 3/4 of its material. The Big 3 Networks don’t bother dealing with “regional” issues unless they involve some sort of high-casualty natural disaster, a mass shooting or a Presidential/Congressional election. Fox News is beating its jingoistic, hyper-capitalist breast, running stories about welfare queens and the collapse of the traditional Christian/”American” values, while MSNBC has Chris Matthews screeching over his guests about whatever Chicken Little scenario he envisioned that morning and CNN is speculating about the possibility that a Boeing 777 was swallowed up by a Black Hole in the middle of the Indian Ocean. How is an unemployed miner in Butte, MT or a disenfranchised voter in Charleston, SC supposed to draw any attention to the issues that affect them deeply on a daily basis?
Well, the aim of my blog, Virally Suppressed, is to make as little as a small dent into the inequality that has become an inherent part of our contemporary media. The internet was supposed to be this great leveler of corporate interest. The theory had it that, once the modes of communication were expanded to the entire citizenry, the power of the media would diffuse itself from the hands of a precious few into the homes and computers of the many. What ended up happening in practice was not so much a diffusion of media as it was a reconsolodation of it. Roughly 20 years removed from the introduction of the internet into our lives, the control of national and regional media narratives has to some extent switched hands, but in doing so it has only created a new elite, with goals that are not too dissimilar than their old media counterparts. Certainly, community blogging sites like DailyKos have provided pockets of this new world in which user interactivity and input is highly valued, but for the most part, the modus operandi of news gathering organizations and those that fund them in 2014 is the same as it was in 1994.
What I am asking of you, dear reader, is for insight into what events, issues and struggles are most important to you that you feel are being given short shrift by the national media and the broader digital-media community. Some of these things might be underserved national points of interest that are playing themselves out in the laboratories of state government such as gay rights legislation and the fight over the teaching of evolution in schools, while others probably concern predominantly regional issues like Duke Energy’s repeated environmental violations in North Carolina or the fatal lack of regulatory oversight in the shale oil boomtowns of North Dakota. All of these are issues that deserve comprehensive, insightful coverage, but have all but been been left out of the mainstream media’s coverage because they lack “national appeal.”
It is my hope that, in my own little way, I can help to remedy this massive imbalance between the regional and the national. I want to do my part to focus on the stories that concern the people of my country rather than the just those affecting the corporate interests who run it or the ones that the Nielsen Ratings say will draw the largest viewership. In order to do this, I am going to need your help.
I urge you to contact me either at my email address (firstname.lastname@example.org) or at the bottom of this article. Tell me, with as much background and explanation as you see fit, the specific issue or story in your community, state or region that you think needs to be heard, but is languishing in relative obscurity. If you live within a 500 mile radius of Cincinnati, OH, I will try my best to drive down to where you are and check out the situation in person. However, if you live farther away from me than that, please don’t let it stop you from sending ideas my way, as I can always try writing articles remotely.
Once again, I must stress that I hope you all contact me with the problems affecting your communities and that I will try my best to give them the attention and treatment that they deserve. I look forward to hearing from you.
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