The latest report on the state of local news by Penelope Muse Abernathy, Knight Chair in Journalism and Digital Media Economics at UNC Hussman, was released June 24 by the UNC Center for Innovation and Sustainability in Local Media.
“News Deserts and Ghost Newspapers: Will Local News Survive?” — the fourth in a series of reports published since 2016 — is the most expansive yet, offering an assessment of what has been lost over the past 15 years, as well as identifying major challenges and opportunities for rebuilding local journalism in the decade ahead.
More than one-fourth — 2,100 — of the country’s newspapers operating 15 years ago are no longer in business. Only half the number of journalists working at newspapers 10 years ago are doing so today. In addition to the state of local newspapers, the report focuses on the state of digital media, ethnic media and public broadcasting outlets. Abernathy found that those sectors face many of the same economic challenges as local newspapers.
The report’s companion website — usnewsdeserts.com — includes more than 350 interactive maps that allow users to drill down to the county level to learn more about the local news landscape of all 50 states. Also this year, the website has a simple downloadable exercise that rates the quality and quantity of local news in a community.
Direct to Publication Announcement
Direct to Full Text Report (HTML)
Direct to Full Text Report (PDF)
Direct to Report Website/Online Tools