Local newspapers are like leopards. Nearly extinct in places. Critically endangered in others.
It’s past time to ask, how many newspapers can our nation lose without widespread detachment from civic affairs for years to come?
In the last decade and a half, nearly one in five newspapers has shuttered, according to research by the University of North Carolina’s Center for Innovation and Stability in Local Media.
UNC researchers calculated a net loss of almost 1,800 local newspapers since 2004. That’s not digital disruption. That’s digital destruction at scale.
Youngstown, Ohio Set To Become Another American News Desert
Just days ago, The Vindicator celebrated the 150th anniversary. Now, Youngtown’s only daily is closing shop and 400 people will lose their jobs.
This isn’t a move from print to paperless. This is another important newspaper going out of business.
The closure of the paper will leave a community of hundreds of thousands without a daily newspaper. Mahoning County alone has more than 200,000 residents.
Will Write News for Food
A 2015 report from the Brookings Institution shows that the number of newspapers per hundred million population fell from 1,200 (in 1945) to 400 in 2014.
Consequently, the number of newspaper journalists has decreased from 43,000 in 1978 to 33,000 in 2015. And the bleeding continues unabated.
Other traditional news media have also suffered. Since 1980 the television networks have lost half their audience for evening newscasts; the audience for radio news has shrunk by 40%.