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Samantha Bee tries to save local journalism, one newspaper at a time

Screenshot: Full Frontal/YouTube
Screenshot: Full Frontal/YouTube

The press seems to be having a rough time these days, what with the nation’s biggest toddler condemning the fourth estate as being an enemy of the state. Surely, Trump’s relentless attacks on the media has turned public opinion against journalists, right? Not so, says Full Frontal host Samantha Bee: Subscriptions to major publications like The New York Times have actually increased in the time since less than half the voting public elected a poor man’s Lex Luthor president. But smaller, local publications haven’t benefitted much from the call to fend off ignorance, so Bee set about trying to help them out, one broadsheet at a time.

The New Brunswick Today is that Jersey city’s only local paper, and while it’s operated by a real-life Dorian Gray, the publication’s struggled to build a strong subscriber base. It’s not enough that the staff is doing investigative journalism on corruption in the city government, it seems. But with some help from a TED talker, Bee “gamifies” the model and successfully drives up the number of subscribers. Although the lesson here is that people will only help others if they can first help themselves, at least local journalism isn’t dead in New Brunswick.

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