Does having stronger local newspapers make people more likely to follow COVID safety guidelines? Er, not so much

January 19, 2022

Nieman Lab

Broadly speaking, the Internet has made more stories available at every point on this wants/needs spectrum. But the most common editorial critique of digital news is that it’s gotten too focused on the “wants” end — mindless clickbait, partisan poison, misinformation that makes someone feel they’re on the right side of history.

Often, the stakes are low enough that how an outlet approaches a story doesn’t make much of an impact. But what happens when the subject at hand is critically important — even a matter of life and death?

That’s a question raised by a new paper just published in The International Journal of Press/Politics. It’s titled “Do Local Newspapers Mitigate the Effects of the Polarized National Rhetoric on COVID-19?” and it’s by Catie Snow Bailard of George Washington University. 

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