Where are the weeklies? Still kicking, Penelope Abernathy’s news desert report says

Penelope Abernathy‘s latest report on news deserts is damning. About 1,300 U.S. communities have completely lost news coverage. More than one in five newspapers have closed over the past 15 years. And many of the 7,100 surviving newspapers have faded into “ghost papers” that are essentially advertising supplements. Half of the 3,143 counties in the U.S. now only have one remaining newspaper — and it’s usually a small weekly. Lost weeklies tend to be in low-income areas that tend to be poorer, less educated, older. If we don’t want half of our country separated from the other half, we need to come up with some kind of funding model that gets the news to the people in the communities that need it most. Less than five percent of philanthropic funding over the last few years has gone to state and local news sites. It’s going to take Continue reading "Where are the weeklies? Still kicking, Penelope Abernathy’s news desert report says"

How news organizations can guide through the “information jungle”

Welcome to the jungle, we’ve got fun and games
We got everything you want honey, we know the names
We are the people that can find whatever you may need
So that’s one way that journalists can approach their role. Researchers at the Lenfest Institute and UPenn’s Annenberg School for Communication went hunting for news deserts in their local community of Philadelphia, but through focus groups with 64 residents came back with the image of a news jungle instead. Here’s how Mariela Morales Suárez described it:
Instead of feeling they were not finding essential information and news, participants said they had too much information and news on their screens and that they had to opt out, sort through and hunt for information that they were actually interested in. The one important exception to this was participants of color, who repeatedly mentioned information gaps in the media about specific issues Continue reading "How news organizations can guide through the “information jungle”"

An analysis of 16,000 stories, across 100 U.S. communities, finds very little actual local news

We know that local journalism is suffering. We talk about news deserts and shuttering newspapers. Research has tended to focus on individual communities, or more broadly on certain types of journalism outlets and the coverage of certain types of topics. But what do the problems for local news look like on a broader level? Researchers from the News Measures Research Project at Duke analyzed more than 16,000 news stories across 100 U.S. communities with populations ranging from 20,000 to 300,000 people. (U.S. Census data identifies 493 such communities; the researchers chose a random sample of 100.) What they found isn’t promising: — Only about 17 percent of the news stories provided to a community are truly local — that is actually about or having taken place within — the municipality. — Less than half (43 percent) of the news stories provided to a community by local media Continue reading "An analysis of 16,000 stories, across 100 U.S. communities, finds very little actual local news"