PODCAST. Tanzina Vega, from NPR’s The Takeaway. “The Decline of Local News”.
November 25, 2019.
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It’s been a tough decade for the American press. News publishers have struggled to adapt to a fractured media landscape. Near-daily charges of fake news have undermined faith in the institution of journalism. And for many people in the US, social media platforms have replaced traditional outlets as their primary source of news.
The crisis has made headlines as high-profile digital outlets like Buzzfeed and Vice laid off significant portions of their newsrooms in 2019. News sites like ThinkProgress, Splinter and more have gone away entirely.
But it’s not just digital journalism that’s struggling to stay afloat. In the past 15 years, more than 2,000 newspapers were forced out of business. As Internet giants like Google and Facebook have sucked up the advertising revenue that historically kept most newspapers in business, buyouts and mergers have left many local outlets in danger of extinction.
The McClatchy Company, the publishing giant behind papers like the Miami Herald and dozens of other local papers, is reported to be on the brink of bankruptcy. And newspapers that do survive often wind up consolidated under single ownership.
Ken Doctor, a media analyst and founder of Newsonomics, and Penny Muse Abernathy, Knight Chair in Journalism and Digital Media Economics at the University of North Carolina, joined The Takeaway to discuss the state of local news.
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