Subscribe to your local newspaper, even if it’s a terrible, poorly-written right-wing rag, and urge its editors to improve its coverage.
Yes, really. You’ve long since heard the calls to support the heavy-hitter papers such as the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Wall Street Journal. You need to support your local paper with your dollars, too, even if you hate it.
Why? First off, it’s the only game in town. A bad local newspaper is almost always better than no local newspaper because a local newspaper is one of the best checks on local government, and sometimes it’s the only check on local government. A subscription is an investment in checking your local government.
Second, newspapers are obsessed with giving their readers what they say they want. If their readers want coverage that slants to the right, that’s what they’ll print. The only way to make a bad local paper better (aside from starting a competing local paper), is to subscribe and demand that they cover things that matter to you, and praise them when they do.
Third, local papers, even bad ones, will nonetheless tell you, at minimum, the basics of what’s happening with local government, the school board, the police department, the fire department, community groups, and other entities you need to keep an eye on. Again, if the paper is doing a lousy job, give its editorial staff polite constructive criticism in the form of emails and letters to the editor (a future OTYCD post will deal with how to write Letters to the Editor).