Where do you get your news? This is a question I ask all the time and today, I was asking it a Christmas gathering. The intelligent young woman I was talking to responded saying, “I used to get most of it from scrolling through Facebook. But I don’t read Facebook anymore.” She went on to explain that she doesn’t have a lot of free time and finds just a few minutes here and there to catch up on news while standing in line or waiting for someone.
Many people still get their news from social media. We don’t recommend it. Instead, just google “BenitoLink” and get fresh, conscientiously produced local news every day.
A Dec. 5 article about local news from Poynter Institute, a journalism school, warns that though many enjoy social media to keep up on friends and family, it is not the place to get information you can count on. “Private Facebook groups and other social media then amplify the false claims, filling the gap of reliable information with websites that often walk a fine line between something resembling reality and conspiracy theory,” the Poynter Institute opinion article explained.
In San Benito County when BenitoLink was created (we started publishing in 2012), readers had lost local reporting and were stuck with regional news organizations like the Mercury News and KSBW. But staffs keep shrinking and they could no longer afford regular coverage of the county.
Just taking a quick peek online for this article, the Mercury charges $90 per year for the online only paper. Does it cover San Benito County? No. But BenitoLink publishes San Benito news daily.
But in their recent Poynter article, “Truth can win if we change course and focus on local news,” writers Vivian Schiller and Bonita Robertson-Hardy present the promising message that through local news operations readers are familiar with, like BenitoLink, communities can regain their trust in the news and gather the information they need.
Schiller and Robertson-Hardy are critical of national media and recent coverage of the election in rural areas in particular saying, “the national media kept coming back to these narrow identities to advance a reductive, pre-baked narrative.” They point out the irritating national media habit of “parachute reporting” where they fly in just to follow their own preconceived script and forget to listen to anyone who has their feet on the ground.
Research has repeatedly shown that readers trust reporters they can talk to and are approachable, whose family they know or they see at church or the grocery store. They like people they are comfortable talking to… sharing their stories or providing feedback.
“Most importantly, we need local news written by people from the community, for the community,” the article concluded.
“Our ability to solve the biggest societal challenges, and the very preservation of democracy, is predicated on our ability to rebuild a news ecosystem that earns our trust. Each of us has a role to play, and we urge everyone to work with your neighbors to build your own community-driven solution to it,” said Schiller and Robertson-Hardy.
BenitoLink is a community-driven solution and we are all very fortunate to have an established, committed newsroom for a growing county. We want to thank our local major donors who are providing much of the matching funds we are using for this fall campaign; Sallie Calhoun and Matt Christiano and Randy and Rebecca Wolf. The Institute for Nonprofit News is also playing a big role in this year’s fundraising match of $55,000.
By the first week of December, we are showing $33,897.89 in community donations that will double with the match.
For those community members who have already donated and are listed below, THANK YOU!
If you enjoy BenitoLink but haven’t had a chance to donate yet, don’t forget to support your local, nonprofit newsroom by donating. Let’s keep a good thing going.
Join the crowd and DONATE.
|Alacia Welch||Kerry & Harry Tobias|
|Alan Heminger||Kimberly Randle|
|Amelia Ryan||Kozean Wright & Patrick Wright|
|Anna Smith||Krista Van Laan|
|Annamaria Baez||Laura Romero|
|Anne Hall||Leila Sadeghian|
|Barbara Rubio||Leslie Austin|
|Beverley Meamber||Leslie Schwabacher|
|Bob Reid||Liz Smith|
|Cara Vonk||Lynn Overtree|
|Carol Hawkins||Margret & Russell Ellwanger|
|Carol Lenoir||Mark & Dawn Eason|
|Chang So||Mark Levine|
|Charles Tobias, DVM||Mary Kathryn Rubino|
|Charles W Sorbet Jr||Mary Margaret Lanning|
|Christina Andrade||Mel Angel|
|Christine Breen||Michelle Noble McCain|
|Clark Family Fund||Mitch Hammond|
|Daniel Dungy & Nancy MacLean||Monica Vargas|
|Dave Ruprecht & Jennifer Coile||Nancy Oliveira|
|Dave Wright||Nick Bailey|
|Dawn Soza||Patrice & Doug Kuerschner|
|Debbie Pollack Cochran||Patrick McKenzie|
|Denise Cauthen-Wright||Paul Scherer|
|Dennis Finnigan||Phillip Esparza|
|Diane Ortiz||Rachel Ponce|
|Dianne Carman||Rebecca Salinas|
|Donna & Gary Swanson||Regina Datta|
|Dr. Lois M. Locci||Rhonda Perrotti|
|Dr. Parveen Sharma||Richard McDavid & Susan Echaore- McDavid|
|Dr. Stelvio Locci||Rob & Jenny Bernosky|
|Eugene Zanger||Robert Marden|
|Gary & Ria Byrne||Robin Pollard|
|Gerri Johnson & Gary Rocchi||Roger Brown|
|Gerry Wright||Rohit Sharma|
|Gifford Swanson||Sandy Cabral|
|Harriet Brin||Sara A Steiner|
|Heather Callens||Shari Stevenson|
|Janet Grist||Sharlene Van Rooy|
|Janet Watson||Sophie Schwabacher|
|Jean Lierly||Stacie A McGrady|
|Jerry Magorian||Steven Perricone|
|Joan Domingues||Stirling Burnet|
|Joan Randolph||Stuart Blakewood|
|John David||Susan & Franklin Dean|
|John Reed||Tami Aviles|
|Judy Gansen||Thomas Breen|
|Karen Van Gerpen||Thomas Davis|
|Karminder & Randy Brown||Tina Baine|
|Kate Modic||Trisha Brem|
|Kathi Stirling-Morris||Valerie Egland|
|Kathleen Davis||William Baker|
|Kathy & David Kessler||William Powers|
|Kay Filice||Women’s Club of Hollister|