All News Is Local: How Well Do You Know What's Up in Your Neighborhood?
NFL playoff seedings? Check. Fiscal cliff update? Check. Golden Globe nominees? Check.
To be sure, the national and global headlines are in front of you in a heartbeat. Those nuggets of news are interesting, informative and, sometimes, helpful. But are you getting the whole story? Do you find yourself wanting news that is, literally, a little closer to home?
If so, that’s a good thing. Being informed about your country and the planet is important, but knowing what is going on in your backyard is crucial to being a productive, valuable member of your community. Indeed, when it comes to being a better citizen, reading the local news is where it’s at.
Think of what you could be missing if you avoid reading the local newspaper.
- Your community’s city council just voted to allow a new, “questionable” business to set up shop near your child’s school.
- The local school board decided to lay off dozens of teachers, including the one who finally got your teenager to understand algebra.
- It was decided that your ballot in the upcoming election will include a question on whether to raise your property tax.
- The restaurant you frequent down the street is closing after five decades of serving great homestyle meals.
- A neighbor of yours, the one with the big house and flashy car, is accused in a massive fraud case.
- A major crime spree has hit the community, and officials are preaching vigilance.
- Dry conditions have prompted an outdoor-burning ban and you won’t be allowed to have your traditional Fourth of July cookout.
You get the picture. There are always many stories brewing in your community that directly impact your life. And quite often, reading local news coverage, whether in print or on a newspaper’s website, is the only way to learn about those topics. In all but the rarest of occasions, major national media outlets won’t have a report from the city council meeting.
Reading the local news is the first step. What you do afterward—how you use the information—is just as important.
Sometimes a story can spark action by a community’s residents. Say that new “questionable” business mentioned in the earlier example was approved only on first reading by the city council. A news article explains that in two weeks a second reading and final vote are slated, but only after a period of public comment. That’s an opportunity to have your voice heard and possibly change a few minds before a decision is made.
Being an informed citizen is a major step toward being a good citizen.
Honoring the Dead By Feeding Them The sweet (and savory) hereafter of Día de los Muertos Understanding the food-filled altars of Día de los Muertos
Drawing a Bead on a Better World The Purple Buddha Project attempts to forge beauty out of ugly histories that continue to alter life in the present.
The Message-Maker: On the Ground with Baltimore Street Artist GAIA Internationally acclaimed artist uses painting to reach his city.
Buckets are the New Pumpkins Do you annually waste nourishing squash flesh on bourgeois porch displays? Jettison the traditional jack-o’-lantern with this one simple trick
Watch Out for the Witch Flick A guide to the positive, negative, and complicated depictions of women as witches in movies, warts and all
The Not-So-Mad Science of Head Transplants We may soon be able to successfully graft a human head onto a different body, but is it worth the cost in terms of dollars and ethics?
A Friendly Game of International Border Subversion Activists in Morocco and Algeria hope to play a volleyball game using the countries’ mutual border as a net
13 Spooky Sites That Redefine the Term Skeleton Structure Humans have been using bones as building materials for centuries While world religions and ancient history are replete with alternative burial solutions, some of the most mesmerizing are found in ossuaries
Teacher’s Little Reading Helper Know any child iPad addicts who should be learning how to read instead of playing Candy Crush? Try Bam Boomerang
How Elves and Serpents are Saving Iceland for Future Generations Most Iceland residents believe in magic to some degree, and it’s helping to preserve the environment, foster community … and rake in tourism dollars
5 Tales of Halloween Heartbreak A conversation about growing up in the U.S. without celebrating national dress-up-and-get-free-candy day