Media and Social Movements Blog
The story I found to be most compelling was the story about the Long Island nuclear power plant. This nuclear plant was built in an area of extreme population density and there are very few ways off the island if there happened to be an emergency. To me this immediately doesn’t make sense, but once the power plant was there, it took the power of a grassroots movement to get rid of it.
Most people believe they can rely on large, reputable news sources. In this case, however, one of the most prominent newspapers in the world, The New York Times, failed to adequately cover the story about the Shoreham plant. Throughout the history of the Times, there had been multiple accounts where there have been stories about nuclear power, but nearly all of them have been positive. Even when citizens began to protest the plant, the Times still focuses on the positive aspects of the Shoreham plant, and not the overwhelming evidence about its negative effects. It took the small local newspapers to stand up to the nuclear plant.
When The East Hampton Star began to cover the plant, things started to change. The main reporter, Karl Grossman, found hundreds of documents detailing safety problems at the plant. This began some of the first and most important negative coverage of the Shoreham plant. Stories about the plant continued in the Star, some calling for protests, even urging citizens to be trained in non-violent civil disobedience. It was articles like this in the Star that convinced locals of the importance of doing something about the plant. It took a huge rally at the plant of more than 15,000 people, 600 of which were arrested, to create change. The Shoreham nuclear power plant was soon closed. To me, this is one of the best examples of local, grassroots reporting making positive change.
To Eesha Williams I would like to ask: How has social media changed how people perceive local media? Does social media make local media more effective or less effective? Does the Internet and social media make it more or less difficult for local media to compete with large media companies such as the New York Times and CNN?