Journalism is indispensable for progressive society

This year's recipients of the illustrious Pulitzer Prize for journalism were announced last week. It came to light that one of the winners — Rob Kuznia, from the small Los Angeles County paper The Daily Breeze — had ceased his work as a journalist shortly after publishing his winning story. The newspaper business wasn't adequately paying Kuznia's bills, and he now works in public relations for the University of Southern California.

The case of Kuznia illustrates several things about the current state of American journalism. On the pessimistic side of the spectrum, Kuznia is among the many casualties of the declining position of journalism. Local print newspapers like The Daily Breeze exemplify the problem.

In an interview with NPR, Kunzia said that the number of journalists employed at his former paper dropped from 25 to a meager seven in the last five years alone. He said that he and his girlfriend were "living paycheck to paycheck... not destitute, but saving nothing." Unfortunately, Kuznia's story is far from unique.

Kuznia is a perfect reminder of the great value that quality journalism continues to have in society. Written along with two other Daily Breeze journalists, his Pulitzer-winning series of stories investigated corruption in a local school district and ultimately led to changes in California state law, according to Slate Magazine.

Even while the national news scene is often characterized as a constant barrage of content that falls on deaf ears and cannot be trusted, local newspapers still have the power to raise awareness and catalyze concrete change in their communities. Kuznia reminds us that good journalism is still relevant.

Kuznia's story highlights the need for continued support and patronage of local and national journalism. If we don't pay for journalists who root out and reveal corruption, we will find ourselves with a fundamentally weaker society.