About Local “News Deserts”

With the continued decline of local news outlets across the country, the importance of providing compelling and reliable community-oriented news content is greater than ever. According to the PEW Charitable Trusts, the “growing dearth of local news outlets is leading researchers to call the places that have lost papers ‘news deserts,’ and academic studies are finding a correlation between less local news and decreased civic participation in those places.”

According to the UNC Hussman School of Journalism and Media, as of 2019, six counties in North Carolina had no newspapers, and 58 counties had only one.

Sources: The PEW Charitable Trusts, Daniel LeDuc; The Expanding News Desert, UNC Hussman School of Journalism and Media

“Over 65 million Americans live in counties with only one local newspaper – or none at all.”

Source: Brookings Institution, Clara Hendrickson

Academic Reports


Local Journalism in Crisis:
Why America Must Revive Its Local Newsrooms

View Report


The Expanding News Desert

Use this national map to view the health of your state’s news ecosystem.
Learn More

The PEW Charitable Trusts

The Loss of Local News

Newspapers are closing — and with fewer reporters covering local events, researchers are asking what it means for civic life.
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The PEW Charitable Trusts

The State of Local News Project

Track closures and mergers of local news outlets, the emergence of local news providers and communities in danger of becoming news deserts.
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Media Coverage on News Deserts

Five Thirty Eight

Local News Coverage Is Declining – And That Could Be Bad For American Politics

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The American Conservative

Local News Is Collapsing

Local news is an eroding cornerstone of American democracy, but we can fight back.
Read More

Additional Research and Analysis

Addressing the decline of local news, rise of platforms, and spread of mis- and disinformation online – The Center for Media Law and Policy (CITAP) at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill­­, December 2020

The Expanding News Desert  – UNC’s Hussman School of Journalism and Media, 2018

Additional News Coverage

Is There a Market for Saving Local News?The New Yorker, February 3, 2022

What Happens to Democracy When Local Journalism Dries Up?Washington Post Magazine, November 30, 2021

Journalism’s Market Failure Is a Crisis for DemocracyHarvard Business Review, March 12, 2020

How the Collapse of Local News is Causing a National CrisisNew York Times, November 20, 2019