For more than 20 years, local news organizations around the globe have been trying to make a go of it in the new digital economy. And most, as we read day after day, are still struggling. Layoffs are constant, bankruptcies common, and storied local brands face uncertain futures. This has fueled low morale and heightened cynicism in many local newsrooms. In fact, when the subject turns to local news, we’re more likely to hear what isn’t possible than what is. Local can’t scale, critics say. Local sites can’t build large enough audiences to generate meaningful revenue. Local advertisers don’t get digital. Many think the local news opportunity is too small to be worth much effort.
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