Although politicians and philanthropists are becoming more aware of the issues facing the newspaper industry, a recent analysis claims that the decreasing tendency is still there.
(AP) NEW YORK — According to a report on the state of local journalism released on Wednesday, newspapers continue to close in the United States at a pace of two per week despite an increasing awareness of the issue.
According to the Medill School of Journalism, Media, and Integrated Marketing Communications at Northwestern University, communities without a trustworthy local news source are more likely to be poorer, older, and less educated than those that do.
According to the survey, there were 6,377 newspapers in the nation as of the end of May, down from 8,891 in 2005. Even though the epidemic did not exactly bring about the reckoning that some in the industry had feared, 360 newspapers have closed since the end of 2019, with 24 of them being weeklies serving tiny areas.
According to Northwestern, there were an estimated 75,000 journalists employed by newspapers in 2006; today, there are only 31,000. Over the same period, annual newspaper revenue dropped from $50 billion to $21 billion.
The circumstances that led to the demise of the industry’s advertising strategy haven’t changed, even though benefactors and politicians have been paying greater attention to the problem. According to Penelope Muse Abernathy, visiting professor at Medill and lead author of the paper, encouraging growth in the digital-only news business in recent years hasn’t been sufficient to offset the overall trends.
According to the survey, many of the digital-only websites are specialized in a single subject and grouped in or adjacent to large cities where philanthropic financing, which accounts for a large portion of their support, may be found.
Deserts of news are expanding: According to the survey, around 70 million Americans reside in counties with either none or just one local news outlet.
Our democracy as well as our civic and societal coherence are really on the line, according to Abernathy.
The research stated that 40 of the top 100 newspapers in the nation produce only-digital versions at least once each week. True “daily” newspapers that are printed and distributed seven days a week are also vanishing. Tim Franklin, the director of the Medill Local News Initiative, predicted that inflation would speed up the transition away from printed editions.
The survey stated that a large portion of the industry churn is caused by the expansion of newspaper chains, especially new regional chains that have acquired hundreds of newspapers in small or mid-sized markets.
Only 12 of the 150 major metro and regional daily newspapers in the country, which publish 5,147 weekly publications, are currently locally owned and run, according to Medill.
Abernathy’s study cited a few “local heroes” to dispel the gloom that the raw data convey. One is Sharon Burton, publisher and editor of the Adair County Community Voice in Kentucky, where she pushes her staff toward aggressive journalism while also successfully lobbying to expand postal subsidies for rural newspapers.
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