How do “news deserts” affect communities?

In this interview, Penny Abernathy tells television station WBTV Charlotte how the growing expanses of the U.S.—often rural, often poor—without newspapers risk the compromise of the very basics of democracy and civic engagement.

“We’re missing out on the vital information we need to make decisions about our lives,” says Abernathy, Knight Chair in Journalism and Digital Media Economics at the University of North Carolina as well as a former executive at the Wall Street Journal and The New York Times. During the interview, Abernathy details ways newspapers strengthen communities, such as helping identify and solve local problems, sparking economic development and building social cohesion.