Home > #7 > Local journalism that made a difference

Local journalism that made a difference

The most compelling story for me is the story about the media coverage of the Shoreham nuclear power plant on Long Island.

For me the impressive thing about this story is that in a large part thanks to one single reporter, Karl Grossman, who covered the issue of the Shoreham nuclear power plant for a family owned local newspaper, The East Hampton Star, a grassroots movement got sparked and continually supported in taking on the big fight against nuclear power culminating in the closing of the Shoreham nuclear power plant., preventing an accident that could kill thousands of people and leave hundreds of square miles uninhabitable.

With his almost weekly published articles in The East Hampton Star over a span of almost 10 years, Karl Grossmann has inspired grassroots actions, emphasized concerns, protests and strategies and reinforced citizen’s confidence to believe in their power to stop the nuclear plant while other media outlets, local or widely-read daily newspapers on Long Island like the New York Times or Newsday either ignored the issue completely or if they were covering the issue they would not express any opinion contrary to the interests of LILCO (Long Island Lighting Company) who built the Shoreham plant or the nuclear industry at large.

Comments made by activists like “Without Karl Grossman’s reporting, Shoreham would not have been closed” or “It was a combination of word-of-mouth and reading the Start that inspired me to get involved” and “Karl Grossman was a critical factor. A few small papers helped us. The major media betrayed us” show how much impact local journalism can have in supporting a cause that is important for a certain community. The story also shows that larger media outlets, like The New York Times, have to play by the rules of their financial supporters, putting their financial well-being before a truthful and balanced coverage of certain issues connected with their supporters.

In this case, however, the ignorance of the major media outlets had no influence in stopping the local journalism, especially in person of Karl Grossman, to speak out for a cause and to help build a grassroots movement that ultimately brought about the closing of the Shoreham nuclear plant.

How can it be ensured that especially local journalism does not have to cautious about what they are reporting concerning controversial issues like this, meaning without having to fear about their financial well-being if they express critical remarks?

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  1. Kathleen
    November 14, 2011 at 2:36 pm

    Good points raised here about media ownership and censorship. Great job, Rebecca, last blog!

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