Local Journalism: Shrinking Resources, Growing Challenges

von Tim Franklin, Penny Abernathy, Mark Jacob
Over a period of two months in the fall of 2021, Tim Franklin and Penelope Abernathy of Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism interviewed international experts about the local news crisis, its impact on major issues and strategies for the future. In an online event, some of the experts came together to discuss their findings and to share ideas for a way forward for local journalism outlets.


In this report, we examine how the local news crisis has influenced coverage of major issues such as the pandemic and climate change - and how those issues influence local news, both in the U.S. and around the world. Some of the key findings make clear that the loss of countless local media outlets and journalism jobs has ripple effects throughout their communities and countries. Many communities around the world lost local papers and turned into "news deserts" - areas left without any local media outlets. Research shows that communities suffer without media watchdogs in more ways than one. Original reporting on public health issues, climate change or government accountability takes a backseat without local media. Our experts take stock of the state of journalism and discuss strategies that work and could deliver a blue print for the future of local news.

The views, conclusions and recommendations expressed in this report are solely those of its authors and do not reflect the views of the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung, or its employees.



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