Even before virus, communities feeling loss of newspapers

If Penelope Muse Abernathy can take any solace in her grim work of counting how many newspapers across America have closed, it’s that more people are becoming aware of the problem.

The North Carolina journalism professor’s latest report out this week details the industry’s decline from 2004 through 2019, a period that saw the loss of more than 2,000 newspapers and a 44% drop in circulation overall.

The result has left many communities without a local paper, a shift she said is being recognized by a broad range of people who notice a lack of strong local news coverage contributes to societal divisions and an erosion of trust in institutions.

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