Opinion | The rebirth of local news depends on all of us
Leonard Downie Jr.
Leonard Downie Jr. | for The Washington Post
Leonard Downie Jr., a professor at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, is a former executive editor of The Post.
You’ve heard local news is dying. In fact, it might just be evolving.
Look around: Online nonprofit local and state news sites are proliferating. Some family newspaper owners are purchasing and investing in endangered small-town papers. A few billionaires have bought large metropolitan dailies. Some public radio stations, local television stations and even universities are getting into the act. Much of this is being seeded and nourished by philanthropic foundations and nonprofits.
American local newspapers had long depended on an economic model primarily supported by advertising and print subscriptions, both largely destroyed by the digital revolution. By contrast, the nascent revival of local news media is dependent on a variety of still evolving models. Here is a sampling of what is working and where.