In 2020, the Hussman School of Journalism and Media released the fourth in a series of reports examining the state of local news in the United States. Titled News Deserts and Ghost Newspapers: Will Local News Survive?, the report documents the decline of traditional local news outlets, the efforts to establish operations to replace these outlets, and what the future could hold.
It’s not a pretty picture.
According to the report:
The United States lost 25 percent of its newspapers—2,100—between 2004 and 2019. Seventy daily newspapers and more than 2,000 weekly or non-daily newspapers stopped operating.
The U.S. went from almost 9,000 newspapers in 2004 to 6,700 newspapers by the end of 2019.
The number of newsroom employees plummeted from 71,640 in 2004 to 35,000 in 2019.
By 2020, more than 200 of the country’s 3,143 counties had no newspaper and no credible alternative source of information, while half of the counties had only one daily newspaper and two-thirds did not have a daily newspaper.
Many of the communities that lost their newspapers were among the most isolated and economically vulnerable in the country.
In short, the for-profit business model that was the hallmark of the news industry in the 20th century has proved inadequate to the challenges of 21st-century technological advances and the constantly evolving online world they helped create.
The report goes on to explain, however, that there are numerous efforts underway to develop new business models for media organizations—among them for-profit, nonprofit, publicly funded, hybrid and cooperative. Unfortunately, they have had mixed success so far. They show promise, but they lack adequate funding.
…………..Karen Rowley, National Federal of Press Women, president 1/31/23
Also see Lyons Recorder article about the barely surviving newspapers, and a printing press in “southern half” of Colorado, including a MEDIA CENTER set up in downtown Denver (3 articles on one page, Nov 2021)
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