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Monday, July 26, 2021

National News Survives, Local News Struggles

Sara Fischer, and Nicholas Johnston at Axios:

There's a sharp divide in American journalism between haves and have-nots. While national journalists covering tech and politics on the coasts reap the benefits of booming businesses and book deals, local media organizations, primarily newspapers, continue to shrink.

Why it matters: The disparate fortunes skew what gets covered, elevating big national political stories at the expense of local, community-focused news.

At the local level, newspapers continue to be gobbled up by hedge funds eager to slash jobs for profits. News veterans with more experience are often the first to go.

At the national level, venture money continues to pour into new outlets like Puck and Recount Media, among others, creating more opportunities for those that cover broad national topics, like media, influence, politics and technology.

Be smart: Such opportunities give national journalists much more bargaining power in salary negotiations and more visibility for book deals.
  • "I can't sell local books, only national," says Jane Dystel, a veteran book agent and the president of Dystel, Goderich & Bourret LLC. "For local, they're not getting paid any advances."
  • "A reader in the Midwest is not going to want to read about a local L.A. politician no matter how big or rich he is," Dystel says.
Case in point: Facebook recently said it has been the subject of 368 books. There is a wave of at least 17 new books about Donald Trump, and The New York Times reported last year that there were over 1,200 books written about Trump between 2016 and 2020.