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A news desert makes us poorer

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12.06.2018

TALIA SHADWELL

Last updated 12:29, June 12 2018

National Health Service workers marched in London in February to protest the underfunding of Britain's fiercely beloved NHS.

OPINION: On a recent rainy day, I shuffled onto a high wall in the heart of London, and surveyed the largest march I had ever seen.

A policewoman, eyeing my high heels pointedly, asked me ever so politely to get down.

When I hopped to the ground, I realised I had grabbed the protesters' attention too. I was thronged by people tapping on my note-pad and waving at me; apparently pleased to see a reporter covering their march to protect Britain's fiercely beloved NHS.

This has become a repeated experience for me here in one of the busiest news-scapes in the world.

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Many people I interview are grateful to speak to a reporter, surprised even to see one turn up. At first I found all this moving. Now, I find it disturbing. It articulates just how neglected many communities feel by the media that is supposed to act as their eyes and ears.

Researchers in the United States recently found a link between local newspapers shutting down and a subsequent increase in public spending.

Readers are also culturally poorer in a news desert.

"Many people I........

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