Loss of local news compounds problems of struggling local governments

Penny Abernathy

In a piece for The Atlantic, Ted C. Fishman examines the COVID-19 pandemic’s devastating economic effects on state and local governments, the threat to democracy and how a loss of local news compounds the problem.

“The loss of essential services hurts a community’s health, safety and quality of life. It is also politically dangerous,” Fishman writes.

Knight Chair in Journalism and Digital Media Economics Penny Abernathy is quoted in the article: “The bulk of both the loss in circulation and the loss in journalists has occurred at the state and regional level,” Abernathy told me. “So that has wiped out all of those critical beats that we used to rely on, whether … it was [health], political coverage of the state, all the great investigative work … And then on the local level … what’s been wiped out is, you no longer have someone showing up for the routine government meetings, like the school board.”

Read the full article here.