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.