In Praise of Local Media

October 2, 2017 | Observations

KVUU Las Vegas provides continuous coverage of the shooting at Mandalay Bay.

Local media has become something of a laughing stock in recent years – too many commercials, too much fluff (or too much sensationalism), an artifact of mass media’s past. Millennials hate traditional media, the research says.

Who needs TV when you’ve got HBO Go (btw, can I borrow your password)?

Radio? Is that like Apple Music but with commercials?

And yet despite the jokes, in recent months, as disaster and tragedy seem to have struck repeatedly, I have heard of not one person who tuned to Spotify to hear important evacuation information, or who flipped on Hulu to find out where to donate blood. I searched and searched but couldn’t find any weather radar in my Netflix queue.

Today was no exception. As I write this, many of the stations in Las Vegas are approaching 24 hours of continuous coverage of today’s tragedy and its aftermath. And while some of that coverage has been of the “sensationalist speculation” variety, the vast majority of it has been focused on public safety, recovery, and serving as a foundation upon which to rebuild community spirit.

In short, it’s local media doing what only local media can do. It seems that despite all the trade press fuss, the reports of its death have been greatly exaggerated.