Penny Abernathy’s local news research cited in articles about media’s challenges covering COVID-19

As media outlets across the nation work to cover COVID-19, the pandemic has highlighted the importance of local news. Publications across the nation have cited UNC Knight Chair in Journalism and Digital Media Economics Penny Abernathy’s groundbreaking local news research in pieces examining the challenges and economic pressures of covering COVID-19 in an industry already dealing with transitioning business models and unprecedented change.

Here are a few examples:

 In this Associated Press piece, reporters Tali Arbel and David Bauder report on the COVID-19 pandemic’s effect on the financial stability and outlook for newspapers in the U.S. and abroad. With examples from national chains to rural newspapers, the reporters look at the financial pressures of covering COVID-19 and whether government support could bolster local news.

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This Slate article asks for media to be considered as a recipient of federal stimulus money: “As federal agencies dole out dollars and Congress discusses future stimulus packages, it is imperative that some of those funds are explicitly set aside to bolster the local news industry, Suzanne Nossel and Viktorya Vilk contend.

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This Nieman Lab article highlights a paradox of the pandemic: It’s proving the value of local news to millions of readers and driving up subscriptions, while threatening the already shaky advertising-based model fueling most media. “A giant story like coronavirus is often when journalists feel most connected to the sense of mission that got them into this line of work,” writes Ken Doctor.

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