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Since fall 2018, more than 80 local digital news sites have been started. An equal number have closed. What does that mean for the industry’s future?
This is an abridged version of an article on Northwestern University’s Medill Local News Initiative website. It can be read in its entirety here.
As many legacy news outlets struggle to survive, industry analysts are looking to digital startups as a promising way to revive coverage of local news. After all, digital-only means you don’t need massive presses or barrels of ink or fleets of trucks. The barriers to publication are low, so there’s great growth potential.
Right? Well, maybe not. At least not yet.
A recent update of the University of North Carolina’s “news deserts” research by Penny Abernathy showed that since the fall of 2018, more than 80 community-scale digital news sites have been started — and an equal number have closed.
Jed Williams, chief strategy officer at Local Media Association, assesses it this way:
“You’re a digital startup. You have no legacy costs. You have no overhead. … But you also have no existing brand assets whatsoever, and building a brand from scratch is really hard.”
The Medill Local News Initiative talked to industry leaders and people who have created their own startups to get a sense of the potential of this segment of local news. The bottom line: Launching a startup isn’t as easy as it looks. But industry groups such as Local Independent Online News Publishers, the
Read more here: https://www.poynter.org/locally/2020/are-digital-startups-the-great-local-news-hope-or-a-disappointment/