S5E4 When Local News Dries Up

On this episode of Ways & Means: a look at why local news is struggling, why that matters for democracy and what can be done about it.

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newsstand in the desert with the words "closed"

Art: Rae Hsu

Phil Napoli studies media regulation. He says there have been incredible innovations from national outlets like The New York Times in terms of how they analyze audience data and how they use algorithms in their reporting.

“They’re innovating and using technology and data in incredible ways,” Napoli says. “Go visit a local newspaper. You will see none of that.”

More than 1,800 newspapers nationwide shut down or drastically downsized in the last 15 years leaving news deserts — localities with limited or no local news outlets. Napoli is conducting research in order to find out exactly how much truly local critical information these communities are getting.

Hear Napoli’s take on declines in local news, shuttering newspapers, and how that affects democracy in this episode of the Ways & Means podcast.

Additional guests: Angie Newsome, founder and executive director, Carolina Public Press; Cameron Beach, student journalist, The 9th Street Journal, Durham NC

Music: Theme music by David Schulman. “Firefly,” “The Window,” “Algo Rhythm Natural,” “Going Forward, Looking Back” by Sound of Picture. Jumpin Boogie Woogie by Audionautix  used with a Creative Commons license.  

This season of Ways & Means is supported by Polis: the Center for Politics at Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy