The arrival of on-demand news on the Internet removed much of the value of newspapers. Why does that matter? With the end of newspapers and broadcast news ad revenues came the end of investigative reporting. Watching Spotlight is a painful reminder of what we don't have-- a fact made worse by realizing some people don't even remember when investigative news cleaned up corruption in Laredo or in the White House.
Take Tamaulipas, the state in Mexico bordering Texas. Until the drug cartels moved in and the rule of law moved out, the press in Mexico operated under the same laws as journalism in any free country. There were news reporters, investigators, opinion writers, sports and society writers, all doing their work in much the same manner as journalists anywhere else. There were important differences in salaries and influence, and these matter. Overall, however, the editors remained in charge. Today in Tamaulipas, that's what's changed. And we should worry the illness our neighbor suffers could infect our own media.
The Tamaulipas example tells us who moves in to fill the vacuum when journalism loses its 'junk yard dog' function. If Tamaulipas' story can be of some benefit, if it can serve any good purpose, it is to warn us that the same thing can happen here.