Columbus still has a strong, locally owned daily paper (The Dispatch), functioning as the main channel for local news and statehouse reporting. It also owns the major TV station. Other print publications are mostly puffery, catering to the college-age music-and-drinking crowd (or post-graduate, young-professional versions thereof). We have three (count 'em) NPR stations, mostly overlapping programming larded with a little local coverage; the rest of the radio dial is hopelessly canned. One excellent website I know (Columbus Underground), and several partisan blogsites. Some civic issues are getting publicized through Facebook, thanks primarily to a few civic-minded individuals: the medium is not conducive to discussion, however, so much as mutual encouragement. Good if you agree already. We lost one important voice for fair-minded debate this year, when Fred Andrle, a gifted local talk-show host, retired.
I know we're lucky still to have a hometown newspaper, but the range of discussion and information is distinctly limited. The Dispatch has invested heavily in a particular version of urban development and definitely shapes the options we're offered. The only civic institution with a comparable citywide reach is the library system: could it develop a presence as an aggregator of local news and a forum for discussion?