The Expanding News Desert

2018 Report

By Penelope Muse Abernathy

The Expanding News Desert

Approx. 104 pp., 8.5 x 11, 6 figs., 13 maps, 12 tables, notes

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-1-4696-5324-2
    Published: November 2018

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Distributed for the Center for Innovation and Sustainability in Local Media, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

This report delves into the implications for communities at risk of losing their primary source of credible news. By documenting the shifting news landscape and evaluating the threat of media deserts, this report seeks to raise awareness of the role interested parties can play in addressing the challenges confronting local news and democracy.

The Expanding News Desert documents the continuing loss of papers and readers, the consolidation in the industry, and the social, political and economic consequences for thousands of communities throughout the country. It also provides an update on the strategies of the seven large investment firms--hedge and pension funds, as well as private and publicly traded equity groups--that swooped in to purchase hundreds of newspapers in recent years and explores the indelible mark they have left on the newspaper industry during a time of immense disruption.

About the Author

Penelope (Penny) Muse Abernathy is the Knight Chair in Journalism and Digital Media Economics at the University of North Carolina and a director of the Center for Innovation and Sustainability in Local Media. A journalism professional with more than 30 years of experience as a reporter, editor and senior media business executive, her research focuses on the implications of the digital revolution for news organizations, information needs of communities and the emergence of news deserts in the United States. She is the author of Saving Community Journalism: The Path to Profitability, published in 2014, as well as three follow-up reports expanding on her research.
For more information about Penelope Muse Abernathy, visit the Author Page.