National publications like the Washington Post and the Wall Street
Journal have recently considered news of The Vindicator’s closing, and
suggest generally that local democracies will go only as far as their
local papers will carry them. These articles assume that if the local
news dies, so does an informed citizenry.
Local news organizations unearth and disseminate truths that
unorganized groups simply cannot. Having bright, articulate, experienced
and credentialed journalists on staff give them a natural advantage;
they know where to look.
However, there’s something to be said for a curious citizen with a
smartphone, a pen, a pad of paper, and a Twitter account. By leveraging
the provisions of Ohio’s public records laws with the wealth of public
information already …