Thursday, May 13, 2021

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From the Editorial Board

Local journalism decreases political polarization in a good way

New research from The Journal of Communication shows that polarization among voters increases in the absence of local journalism. Interestingly, polarization decreases when a local paper keeps its focus local. Turns out, people are a lot closer together on local issues than they think.

The research showed that local newspapers can slow political polarization by focusing on local issues in their opinion pages. In the highly charged political environment of the day, this can only be a good thing!

One of the things that makes Cheyenne River and West River so unique is the way national issues play out on the local stage here. Big policy issues are small neighborhood ones on CRST. Things like oil pipelines, public health and climate change live side by side with blowing trash, water meters, and fire risk. They are all connected.

This sense of connection comes in part from Lakota thinking and in part from the remoteness of our beautiful reservation. People are resources are farther away from each other than in other parts of the country, which makes for great neighbors and tight communities. It also makes for an interesting journalistic challenge.

Because all politics are local here, a visit from Senator John Thune is local news. While he may stride large on the national stage, he represents every day South Dakotans. On the other hand, the Eagle Butte City Council faces daily challenges dealing with an antiquated sewage system. Both issues touch locally.

Here at the paper, we are passionate about breaking down barriers; political, racial, cultural, religious…even in food! We strive for a balance between providing local coverage and bringing highlights from the nation and the world to our readers.

This week we cover news from Pierre with an excellent article by South Dakota Democratic Party columnist Alaina Beautiful Bald Eagle about Missing and Murdered Indigenous People legislation. We bring you news from the Cheyenne-Eagle Butte Elementary School third grade. And we highlight the celebration of Easter Day baptisms at Emmanuel Episcopal Church in White Horse. All in all, it’s a pretty good cross section of happenings.

As ever, we at the paper stand ready to help in any way we can. If you find yourself in the heat of a political argument on Facebook or Twitter, we can help sort out the bias inherent in citations. If you need to run a complimentary birth announcement, we would love to celebrate with you.

Lastly, please pay attention to fire danger and keep wearing a mask! COVID variants are on the rise and fire danger is ever-present.

Political polarization increases after local newspapers close

Political polarization slowed after a California newspaper dropped national politics from its opinion pages

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