Last month’s police raid of the Marion County Record’s newsroom and its publishers’ home sparked nationwide outrage. But some also questioned whether the Record may have been asking for trouble through its aggressive approach to small-town reporting.
We wrote in the Columbia Journalism Review that the reason for the misguided debate over the role of newspapers in small towns like Marion is:
"not because newspapers like the Record are crossing the line by agitating small-town officials [but] because those officials have grown unaccustomed to healthy scrutiny. And perhaps some of their constituents have forgotten the benefits of a robust Fourth Estate.
The prevalence of “news deserts” has apparently led some to think it’s normal for neighborhood news outlets to function as lapdogs rather than watchdogs."
You can read the full article here.