More than half of all counties in the United States have only one newspaper or none at all, according to research from the University of North Carolina. These areas are known as news deserts, and Monterey County is fortunate not to be one. Recent studies have shown that the loss of local coverage results in increased polarization, corruption, pollution and municipal borrowing costs. The void left by vanishing newspapers is being filled by a network of news-like sites that sell coverage to political candidates, largely Republican, and public relations firms, according to investigations carried out by the New York Times and Columbia Journalism Review. Some 1,300 websites – with designs that mimic newspaper sites with ordinary names like Des Moines Sun and Ann Arbor Times – have been propped up across the country. Monterey County has one in montereytimes.com, operated by Metric Media LLC. The site features automated content, but claims to provide “100-percent original reporting.”
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
“You buy raw meat wholesale. You don’t, under any circumstances, murder anyone else.” - A fictional occult bookseller speaking about his code of werewolf ethics, in a new novel written by an MPC professor.
GOOD WEEK / GREAT WEEK
It’s a good week for Castroville and North Monterey County, which are now a step closer to easier access to community college classes. Hartnell College broke ground on Oct. 22 at the site of the future Castroville Education Center, a 13,750 square-foot facility that will feature three classrooms, science laboratories, an on-site tutoring center and a community meeting room. Besides general education, the center will offer classes in food safety, agriculture production, agriculture automation and robotics, engineering and English as a second language. It’s expected to cost $10.6 million and is scheduled for completion in spring 2022. Funding comes from a $167 million bond approved by voters within the Hartnell Community College District in 2016. Hartnell is also constructing a center in Soledad, expanding an existing one in King City and making improvements to the main campus in Salinas.
In more good news for higher education, Monterey Peninsula College has a permanent president/superintendent, as of Oct. 23. The man already serving as the college’s interim leader, David Martin, was chosen over four other finalists who were selected from a nationwide search. “In the end, it was David’s commitment to student success, demonstrated ability to bring people together to solve sensitive and complex problems, and keen business acumen that enabled him to rise to the top,” board chair Yuri Anderson said in a statement. She said she looks forward to working with Martin on district goals around equity and anti-racism. “David understands the power and importance of education to disrupt systemic oppression. He is a true ally to our communities of color and is prepared to use his privilege to ensure the success of our diverse student body,” she said.