A recent column in the Tampa Bay Times by Leonard Pitts referenced a study conducted by the University of North Carolina’s School of Media and Journalism describing the plight of local newspapers in the country.
I located the study online and learned that about 1,800 or 20% of all metro and community newspapers in the United States have gone out of business or merged since 2004. Hundreds more have drastically scaled back on coverage, and nearly all of the rest have scaled back somewhat.
The researchers concluded that our “... sense of community and our trust in democracy at all levels suffers when journalism is lost or diminished. In an age of fake news and divisive politics, the fate of communities across the country — and of grassroots democracy itself — is linked to the vitality of local journalism.”
Good luck to folks in those 1,800 communities if they’re now having to rely on social media to keep up with local news and events.
Thankfully, I can still find the Chronicle on my driveway each morning.