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NEW YORK (AP) — The decline of local news in the United States is speeding up despite attention paid to the issue, to the point where the nation has lost one-third of its newspapers and two-thirds of its newspaper journalists since 2005.
An average of 2.5 newspapers closed each week in 2023 compared to two a week the previous year, a reflection of an ever-worsening advertising climate, according to a Northwestern University study issued Thursday. Most are weekly publications, in areas with few or no other sources for news.
“My concern is that the acceleration that we’re seeing is only going to worsen,” said Tim Franklin, who heads the local news initiative at Northwestern’s Medill journalism school.
At its current pace, the country will hit 3,000 newspapers closed in two decades sometime next year, with just under 6,000 remaining, the report said. At the same time, 43,000 newspaper journalists lost jobs, most of them at daily publications, with the advertising market collapsing.
While digital outlets have emerged to fill some voids, they’re closing at roughly the same rate as new ones start, the report said. There is talk of public financing helping the industry, and more philanthropic money is coming in, but none of that has changed the trajectory.
Few media outlets are immune from financial concerns. The Washington Post said last month it needed to cut 240 jobs through voluntary buyouts, the website Jezebel said last week that it was closing, NPR is laying off employees, and The Associated