Why local newspapers matter
In the last 15 years, America has lost around 25% of its local and regional newspapers. Many others have shrunk dramatically in size. This has led to an increasing number of so-called “news deserts” across the US. There is growing evidence that this has a detrimental impact on local democracy, as well as the local economy. Emily Brindley is a 25-year-old reporter on the country’s longest continuously published newspaper, the Hartford Courant, in Connecticut. The paper has recently lost dozens of newsroom staff, as well as its physical newsroom, and is set to be taken over by a hedge fund that is notorious for making swingeing cuts. Penelope Abernathy started her career in local journalism, before moving to the business side of newspapers, including working for the New York Times and helping it expand nationally and internationally. She has written a number of reports on the state of local media in the US.