Small-Town Newspapers May Be Disappearing But the Need for News Remains

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Local newspapers have been the backbone of communities in the U.S. for over 200 years, but during the last 20 years, they've virtually disappeared.

The result is many communities left without local news and small businesses without an affordable way to reach consumers, since one consequence of the newspaper industry's demise is the absence of a reliable local advertising channel.

Laurie Sigillito of Durango, Colorado, has decided to do something about both problems by creating the Local News Network with the goal of rebuilding local news outlets across the U.S., one town at a time.

"Local News Network addresses two problems: providing relevant news to underserved markets and helping local businesses easily and effectively reach their local consumers," said Sigillito, who is CEO of the venture.

The network model financially stimulates communities because most of the advertising dollars are reinvested in local markets to produce and distribute news.

Local News Network distributes its news and advertising in a variety of ways, including on websites and mobile apps, social media sites, third-party news aggregators, podcasts and free opt-in email newsletters. It also maintains a proprietary distribution network of digital displays placed in high-traffic locations, like airports, DMVs, quick-serve restaurants, bank drive-throughs and hardware stores.

"We are currently in four towns in the Four Corners area of Southwest Colorado and northern New Mexico, and despite the pandemic, our subscribers and advertisers are growing. We plan to launch in two other local news areas in 2021, and hope to expand to hundreds of other markets over the next five years," said COO Bert Carder.

The network is an example of a growing trend by businesses across the country that try to "do well by doing good."

"In the end, we are all about the communities we serve," says Sigillito. "We tell their stories because, at its core, all news is local."

Local News Network produces and distributes local video news stories in underserved news communities throughout the U.S. and paves the way for local businesses to connect with local customers.

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