COVID-19’s continuing effect on local news

Penny Abernathy

COVID-19 has shuttered more than 30 local newsrooms across America, says Kristen Hare in this article for Poynter. The pandemic’s far-reaching economic effects continue to exacerbate pre-existing industry conditions creating not only closures but mergers, and the newspapers disappearing — mirroring trends before the pandemic — are mostly weeklies in small communities.

“And when you lose a small daily or a weekly, you lose the journalist who was going to show up at your school board meeting, your planning board meeting, your county commissioner meeting,” said Penny Abernathy, UNC Knight Chair in Journalism and Digital Media Economics, noting that communities lose transparency and accountability with the loss of these local papers, with research indicating that taxes go up and voter participation goes down.

Read the full article here.