City council minutes and school budgets add up in the equation of maintaining a free press.
Fascinating statistics, Kyle. Thank you!
Who reads (or even skim reads) city council or board of supervisor minutes or agenda? Some groups, like LWV of Iowa, do a good job of monitoring. Some other groups, like housing or climate groups, or local chambers monitor specific areas of work of local govt. For local news, most people rely on their local papers. Sure, people read sports and obits. But you also have small papers winning Pulitzer prizes. At local cafes, you can find local papers laying around on tables. Because people read (or maybe just skim) their papers, because they help provide a sense of community and connectedness. Who benefits with fewer sources of media, esp. in rural and small town Iowa? The people who don't want public attention to what they do benefit from less transparency and knowledge of what they do