This New Yorker piece quotes UNC Knight Chair in Journalism and Digital Media Penny Abernathy in a look at news deserts through the lens of Jones County, North Carolina.
From the article:
“Penny Abernathy, a professor of journalism at the University of North Carolina, told me that, twenty years ago, a state’s largest newspaper could be counted on to cover its rural areas. At its peak, in the nineteen-nineties, the Raleigh News & Observer had some two hundred and fifty newsroom employees, and it won a Pulitzer, in 1996, for its coverage of the hog industry in rural North Carolina. Now it’s down to around sixty staffers. ‘That means there are no longer the people that were roaming around in the past, doing stories that bound that region together,’ Abernathy said. News ecosystems have become especially arid in poorer places with older residents who have less formal education than the average American. ‘The South tends to have lost more papers, and have more counties without newspapers, than any other place,’ she said.”