Local Journalism and Robust Political Reporting Is the Last Line of Defense Protecting Our Democracy

Supporting the Bucks County Beacon is an investment in a future with high-information voters and increased community engagement.
Photo by Tim Karr/Free Press, CC BY-SA

About 2.5 local newspapers per week disappeared in 2003, creating more than 200 county-wide “news deserts.” This trend is likely to continue, according to researchers at the Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications at Northwestern University. In fact, they used predictive modeling that suggests another 228 counties are at risk of joining the news desert ranks. 

Bucks County is not a daily news desert, yet. Maybe?

The Gannett-owned Bucks County Courier Times and The Intelligencer continue to publish dramatically scaled-back and shrunken editions, void of any critical information about what our Republican Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick is doing in office, what our state lawmakers are doing in Harrisburg, or any kind of robust reporting on increasing extremism and threats to democracy locally, statewide, and nationally. As this is the case, when it comes to critical political reporting to inform the electorate these papers are nothing more than mirages.

If a voter solely relied on the Courier Times and Intelligencer to make decisions when mailing in their ballot or casting one in person, they would do so knowing absolutely nothing. This is unacceptable, and likely won’t change but will only get worse as Gannett executives line their pockets while gutting their newsrooms. 

This is why the Bucks County Beacon is so vital. 

While those papers are cutting costs and coverage, we are growing. And we actually take our role as defenders of democracy seriously. This is why instead of investing in and publishing multiple click-bait stories about David Portnoy trying pizza locally, our writers, such as Jenny Stephens, Jennifer Cohn, Pat LaMarche, Peter Greene, Catherine Caruso, Zach Roberts, Lela Casey, Erin Flynn Jay, Edie Weinstein, and columnists like Kadida Kennar, Kierstyn Zolfo, Tabitha Dell’Angelo, Maurice Cunningham, Steve Cickay, Molly Parzen, Michael Gambone, Barbara Simmons, Steve Nolan, William Horne, and others are reporting on and providing the analysis on issues that matter most: voting rights and voter suppression, candidates and elections, the rising threat of Christian nationalism and supremacy, Congressman Fitzpatrick’s votes, local lawmakers and legislation in Harrisburg, public education and its defenders, systemic racism, growing right-wing extremism, and more.  

And when we publish something, people across the country are reading. Our work has been cited in media outlets such as Vanity Fair, The Nation, Talking Points Memo, Wonkette, Media MattersSalon, The Philadelphia Inquirer, WHYY, MSNBCThe Daily Beans, and Keith Olbermann.  

In order to continue having an impact locally, statewide, and nationally, we need your support. Here’s how.

First, become a monthly sustainer and help us reach our goal of 100 readers giving $10 per month.

Second, we are also having a benefit concert at Snipes Farm on June 1 to help raise money to expand our freelance budget and to fund a few investigative projects. We have an amazing lineup, which includes Emily Drinker, Sug Daniels, John Beacher, Alright Junior, and Baron Tiger. Contribute $10 per month or more and receive 20% off your ticket to Beaconfest. Contribute $250 or more and receive 50% off tickets.

This is a great way to bring the community together to celebrate and support progressive independent media and local activism working together to defend democracy with musicians who support the cause.

Support progressive, independent media.

Picture of Cyril Mychalejko

Cyril Mychalejko

Cyril Mychalejko is the Editor-in-Chief of the Bucks County Beacon. Read his columns on Sundays and follow him on Twitter.

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Democracy can’t survive without local media. Support the Bucks County Beacon and protect democracy. 

Fundraising Goal - 100 New Monthly Supporters