Occupy Forces Local News to Focus on Real Issues

The Occupy movement has successfully put the economic injustice plaguing the United States on televisions across America, says Tina Dupuy, a nationally syndicated op-ed columnist and managing editor of Crooks and Liars.

The reason that most Americans were unaware of these issues before the Occupy movement caught fire this fall is that 60 percent of us get our news exclusively from local news sources. Those 30-minute local news segments devote a full 10 minutes to commercials and two minutes to “teasers” of stories to come. That leaves very little time for real news about real issues. Dupuy says that newscasters too often fill the gap with trivial stories such as reports about “Dancing with the Stars” or news of a cat stuck in a tree in Germany.

“We don’t have a real broad knowledge of issues that affect us, like the housing bubble or about what our local and national government is doing,” says Dupuy. “But at least now the local news is showing protest signs of what economic injustice is. They’re being forced to cover these issues and cover the raids, arrests and encampments and have the protestors on television talking about these issues.”

“Now we’ve seen our local news talk about the homeless population, talk about people who aren’t able to find jobs, talk about students who are now sharecroppers to banks because they have $200,000 in student loan debt — debt they can’t renegotiate.”

Jacob Wheeler

In addition to shooting videos for The UpTake, Jacob Wheeler is a contributing editor at the progressive political magazine In These Times, publishes the Glen Arbor Sun in his native Michigan, and authored "Between Light and Shadow," a recent book about the Guatemalan adoption industry. Wheeler's stories have appeared in such magazines as the Utne Reader, Earth Island Journal, Rotarian and Teaching Tolerance magazine, and newspapers including the San Francisco Chronicle and Christian Science Monitor. He speaks fluent Spanish, German and Danish.

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