Concerns rise that ‘big media’ problems affect local media too

By Al Cross

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Al Cross

Trust in “the mass media, such as newspapers, TV and radio” in polls taken by the Gallup Organization was at 32 percent last year, the lowest ever – and was significantly lower than the 40 percent recorded in 2015. Rural newspapers have often presumed that such trends don’t affect them, because they’re in closer touch with smaller communities, where readers know the people at the paper. That is not as safe an assumption as it once was, based on some events, trends and issues we’ve reported lately in The Rural Blog.

For example, a Feb. 5-6 Emerson College poll of registered voters, weighted to reflect turnout in the 2016 election, found them evenly divided about the Trump administration’s truthfulness, but by 53 to 39 percent, they considered the news media untruthful.

The Pew Research Center found in early 2016 that there was little difference in the trust of local and national news outlets. About 22 percent of Americans said they trust local news outlets a lot, and 18 percent said that of national news sources. Recently, rural and community journalists have voiced concern that the attacks on “big media” are hurting “little media,” too.

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Requiem for a Ranger

“A dog is the only thing on Earth that loves you more than he does himself.” — Josh Billings

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Ray Mosby

ROLLING FORK — I was going through some old papers last weekend when I came across something that figuratively knocked the wind out of me. Almost exactly 11 years ago this week, I lost a dear friend and memories of him flooded across my mind like a ship’s deck awash in an intemperate sea.

There’s a picture on my wall of my grandson when he was 10 or so, sitting on my deck, and behind him in the chair, head resting on his shoulder, is the great big, beautiful, stupid old Golden Retriever that dwarfed him both in that photo and in real life.

I felt anew the not properly describable ache that we humans associate with loss and the sometimes stereo system of my mind chose to play perhaps the best lyric from “Mr. Bojangles” that was appropriately perfect: “…his dog up and died. Yeah, up and died. After 20 years he still grieves.”

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