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lack of public interest leads to loss of news sources

Today's New York Times reported some very disturbing statistics about the state of investigative journalism across the Lehigh Valley and the nation. There are fewer and fewer reporters available to cover all of the important governmental decisions being made at local and state levels. It's no surprise to any of us who read our local Morning Call and Express-Times that the paper is getting thin enough to slide through a mail slot. It's no different for those who get their daily news fix through on-line services. We have turned into a country that seems to have less need for being informed about those decisions which will affect the quality of public services which include issues involving everything from education to pollution. The hallmark of good governance is accountability, and I don't mean just the tabloid stuff about political scandals for which there is no coverage shortage. I am talking about good investigative journalism without the opinion stuff. We have no shortage of talking heads with personal opinions about everything. What I call entertainment news. I am not sure if the problem is lack of interest about these issues or lack of serious journalists to cover the stories. Just about every night there is a township meeting somewhere where community input keeps all of our local officials in tune with the voters. Decisions about school calendars and curriculum and land development and taxing issues, etc. etc. are discussed and votes After the revolutionary war our forefathers believed that it would be the mighty power of the pen that would keep all of the citizens informed should some dark force attempt to undermine our guiding principles. Bottom line - democracy works best when everyone participates - and without the sources from which we can get the knowledge needed to cast our vote we are in trouble. Between the Revolution and the Civil War this country grew like none other in the history of modern society. Citizens demanded public work projects to build roads, schools and protective services. They freely gathered everywhere to discuss, argue and unite about what was needed in each community. Political speeches were public events attended by everyone. These forums gave the average citizen not only a way to discuss important political issues but also to stay in touch. Guys like Horace Greeley and other journalist became champions of the people who relied on their reporting of events. In a country, which prides itself on freedom of expression, we should be concerned that there are fewer sources and fewer news journalists to deliver the facts affecting our future. Dennis F Feeley

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