US lost more than two local newspapers a week this year. Why?

I still like to read the news “pages” rather than hear the news. Turning a page is more thorough than watching 2-minute clips on TV news. It challenges and stimulates the mind also. If you want short, cheap, and incomplete state, national, and global news; then the TV is your answer. Reading the daily and weekly news will render far more accurate information. You will decide for yourself what is true or false while reading the detail.

US lost more than two local newspapers a week this year, new Medill report finds

by Angela Fu


The U.S. has lost more than 130 newspapers. Or 2.5 a week in year (2023), according to the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. Since 2005, the country has lost nearly 2,900 newspapers and 43,000 journalists. Over half of counties in the United States have just one or no local news outlets.

Pew Research Center senior researcher Elisa Shearer; A lot of news consumption is happening on social media and even from search.”

Besides losing nearly 2,900 newspapers, the news media has also lost 43,000 journalists. This according to Co-author Northwestern visiting professor Penny Abernathy and project director Sarah Stonbely.  Alternative local news outlets, like digital-only sites, ethnic media organizations and public broadcasting stations, tend to be small and clustered around metro areas. When communities in less affluent or less densely populated areas lose their local newspaper, they often do not get a replacement.

Sarah Stonbely, “It really is still a country of journalism haves and have-nots in a lot of ways. In a lot of rural and less affluent counties, there just isn’t any local journalism at all.”

Medill Local News Initiative director Tim Franklin; Driving the acceleration of newsroom closures are two trends.

  • One is a wave of independently owned newspapers giving up after years of struggling with pandemic-era economic stressors.
  • The other is large newspaper chains selling off or closing properties in the face of declining revenue and large debt burdens.

“The loss of (newspapers and journalists) has short-circuited the flow of news and information across news organizations. The loss has also makes it harder for people to hold their state and local elected officials accountable. With fewer journalists covering city halls and state government, the average citizen knows less and less about what their local government officials are doing.”

For the first time, the State of Local News project also created a “watch list” of 228 counties at risk of becoming news deserts. Researchers used demographic and economic characteristics such as poverty rate, educational attainment, ethnicity and age. By taking the data from current news deserts, they can predict which areas are at high risk of losing their last local news outlet.

The “watch list” counties include two million people and are predominantly located in the South and Midwest. Many of them have significant racial minority populations, and the average poverty rate is 22%.

Tim Franklin adds, “The data provides a bit of a roadmap for where investment is most urgently needed for local news.” Adding that philanthropists and policymakers in those areas could work proactively to prevent them from becoming news deserts.

The project’s researchers also constructed a “bright spots” map that documents 164 news startups from the last five years. The map includes 17 additional points that signify news outlets (both legacies and startups) highlighted by project researchers as having “promising” business models. In choosing the 17 outlets, researchers sought to create a list that was diverse both in terms of geography and business model.

Among the highlighted outlets are large daily papers like The Boston Globe and The Seattle Times. Included are newer digital outlets like Block Club Chicago and Mississippi Today. All of the 17 outlets are privately held and controlled, and all but one are locally owned. For each outlet, researchers constructed a profile that includes what’s working, what’s still to be done, key takeaways, and a Q&A with an executive at the outlet.

“One of the hopes is that people will read these profiles and get ideas and could be inspired to make changes or to adopt models that might work in their own markets,” Franklin said.

Much of the State of Local News project examines the loss of news outlets in the future. Franklin hopes they can also study the loss of coverage. While constructing the report, researchers found 36 markets owned by newspaper chains Gannett and Lee Enterprises not listing any local journalists on staff — often called ghost newspapers. That, Franklin said, suggests the state of local news is even worse than it appears since some places may technically have a newspaper but lack original local reporting.

Stonbelly . . . Still, researchers outlined areas of hope. One is the amount of federal, state and local legislation proposed to help local news. They include efforts to increase broadband access and to incentivize news organizations to hire journalists. The report also highlights the Press Forward initiative, which encompasses 22 philanthropic organizations that have pledged to invest half a billion dollars in local news over the next five years. The public seems to be increasingly aware of the issues local journalism is facing.

Sara Stonbelly adds: “It’s a very exciting time. As depressing as it is, it’s also a very exciting time to be in the local news space.”

“2023 was the worst year for the news business since the pandemic,” Poynter, by Angela Fu