Financial Crisis 2020


Well-Known Member
Aug 1, 2006


Forum Addict
Sep 6, 2008
Michigan USA

The coronavirus has closed more than 25 local newsrooms across America. And counting.

In many places, it started with a cut in print days. Furloughs. Layoffs. Just to get through the crisis, newsroom leaders told readers.

In some places, none of it was enough.

Now, small newsrooms around the country, often more than 100 years old, often the only news source in those places, are closing under the weight of the coronavirus. Some report they’re merging with nearby publications. But that “merger” means the end of news dedicated to those communities, the evaporation of institutional knowledge and the loss of local jobs.

At least 10 of the newsrooms now gone are owned by CNHI. Several are owned by Forum Communications Company. And a few are — were — owned by local families.

Since 2004, about 1,800 newspapers have closed in the United States, Penny Abernathy reported in her research on news deserts. 1,700 are weeklies. The pace of closures, up till now, has been about 100 a year, said Abernathy, a professor at the University of North Carolina’s Hussman School of Journalism and Media.

“Between places switching to online only and those that are merging, this is a really sharp increase,” she said, “and not surprising either.”

The pace might be faster, but Abernathy’s research shows a trend that’s still playing out in the middle of a pandemic — the newsrooms that are closing are mostly weeklies in small communities.

“And when you lose a small daily or a weekly, you lose the journalist who was gonna show up at your school board meeting, your planning board meeting, your county commissioner meeting,” she said.

Communities lose transparency and accountability. Then, she said, research shows that taxes go up and voter participation goes down.

Some of the places listed here grew up alongside their communities. The Journal-Express in Knoxville, Iowa, was founded by a Civil War veteran who was friends with Abraham Lincoln, the site (which now redirects visitors to a “Knoxville” page on the website of the nearby Oskaloosa Herald) reported. After The Edmond Sun started publishing in Edmond, Oklahoma, in 1889, the nearby paper that’s now the Oklahoman told readers “The Edmond Sun now shines on our table. It has come to drive the darkness from our neighboring city.” (That site has also disappeared, instead directing readers to The Norman Transcript website.)

Some are newer, like the Waterbury Record in Vermont, which launched in 2007.

“The Record has never been profitable, but we were in this for the long haul,” publisher Greg Popa told readers. “We started publishing the paper in 2007 to fill a news desert in a community we felt was on the upswing.”

Here, we’ve collected everything we’ve found about the local newsrooms we’ve lost because of the coronavirus. When possible, we’ve included clippings from that newsroom or about it. As many of the sites mentioned here are disappearing with no notice, we wanted to show they once did exist. We’re sure we missed some, please help us fix that. Also, if you can make it to the end, you’ll see there are a few bright spots, too.

I know newspapers have it rough since the internet took off, but this is a significant increase of closures in a short time.

There is also a list of the papers that have closed or merged with other newspapers at the link.