The shrinking presence of local news across the United States may be dividing the country, Miami Herald reporter Julie K. Brown said Sunday on CNN's Reliable Sources.
"With these smaller newspapers drying up across the country, it is creating a collapse of local newspapers and local news and the kind of information (they provide) around the country," said Brown, who is known for her reporting on accused sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein. "Because there isn't the number of voices and the number of local newspapers, (that) has contributed to the divisions that we're experiencing around the country."
Brown's comments come just days after the Herald's owner, McClatchy (MNI), filed for bankruptcy, throwing the future of her paper and 29 others across the country into question.
It's the latest in a years-long decline of local news. Late last year, US newspaper giants Gatehouse and Gannett merged, leading to job cuts and consolidating hundreds of the country's daily newspapers under one company. Around the same time, hedge fund Alden Global Capital became the biggest shareholder in Tribune Publishing, which owns the Chicago Tribune, the Baltimore Sun and the Hartford Courant, among others. Staffers protested the decision and Tribune Publishing has already offered a round of buyouts to employees this year.Elizabeth Grieco at Pew:
- US. newspaper circulation fell in 2018 to its lowest level since 1940, the first year with available data. Total daily newspaper circulation (print and digital combined) was an estimated 28.6 million for weekday and 30.8 million for Sunday in 2018. Those numbers were down 8% and 9%, respectively, from the previous year. Both figures are now below their lowest recorded levels, though weekday circulation first passed this threshold in 2013.
- Newspaper revenues declined dramatically between 2008 and 2018. Advertising revenue fell from $37.8 billion in 2008 to $14.3 billion in 2018, a 62% decline.
- Newsroom employment at U.S. newspapers dropped by nearly half (47%) between 2008 and 2018, from about 71,000 workers to 38,000. Newspapers drove a broader decline in overall U.S. newsroom employment during that span.