NBC National News published an investigative report this week about Beaver County’s decline in professional journalism and rise in misinformation from social media.
NBC News Senior Reporter Brandy Zadrozny traveled to Beaver County to interview local reporters, Facebook figures, and governmental officials as part of the in-depth dive.
Zadrozny’s reporting stems from a series of articles BeaverCountian.com published about “The News Alerts Of Beaver County,” a local Facebook group that has repeatedly caused unnecessary alarm and panic in the county.
NBC News uses Beaver County as a case study of how the public is placing less value on the role reporters play in vetting information, how people are becoming more likely to trust unverified posts they see on social media platforms, and about the societal dangers of expanding “news deserts.”
BeaverCountian.com’s John Paul is included as part of the reporting, discussing the damage being done to innocent people who are randomly targeted by misinformed digital mobs.
“The kind of misinformation that’s traded in The News Alerts of Beaver County and thousands of other groups just like it poses a unique danger. It’s subtler and in some ways more insidious — and it is capable of tearing a community apart.”
The article can be read in full here: In a Pennsylvania town, a Facebook group fills the local news void