In recent decades, locally-owned newspapers have vanished at an alarming rate. Many have become “ghost newspapers,” — a newspaper that is still published, but less frequently or with a reduced number of pages. In many cases, the quality of the editorial content is also greatly reduced, leaving citizens with little information about their communities and government. Generally, newspapers become ghost papers as a result of newsroom staff reductions or a merger with a large media company.
To put that into perspective, more than 370 daily newspapers in the United States are controlled by just five media companies. These media conglomerates often move ownership and management out of the communities in which they had long been invested, and act without consideration of the impact their actions will have on the community they’re meant to serve.
Providing the public with a common set of facts and information is one of the goals of the team of journalists at LNP Media Group. When community members can discuss and debate the issues facing us from the same set of facts which have been researched and reported by a trusted newsroom, that’s how meaningful community change comes about.
While the concept of local news companies reporting facts, building bridges within communities and helping citizens to find common ground isn’t new, it is more important than ever. A 2019 study published by the Greater Good Science Center at the University of California at Berkeley reports a rise in social and political polarization and tribalism in our communities. The price to be paid for failure to compromise and work together is high, the study also points to an increase in government shutdowns, lying, segregation and even violence as possible outcomes.
Most Americans believe that local news organizations like LNP Media Group are financially stable. According to a Pew Research study, more than 70% of Americans believe their local news organizations are doing fine financially.
And of course, many papers have simply closed their doors forever, creating “news deserts,” areas where there are no local news organizations to connect and inform members of the community. Twenty percent of the United States’ newspapers have gone out of business since 2004, and 64 percent of counties in America do not have a seven day newspaper. This means that more than 1,300 communities suffer from a lack of local news coverage.
There are financial impacts to the end of community newspapers, as well. A recent study published by the Brookings Institution examined the relationship between public finance and newspaper closures. Among its findings, the study revealed that the cost of municipal borrowing goes up by as much as a tenth of a percentage point, or 10 basis points, after the closure of a local newspaper.
The fact that LNP Media Group remains committed to publishing local news in print and online daily is increasingly unique.
American counties that do not have a seven day newspaper.
The good news is that you can help prevent Lancaster County from the fate suffered by so many other communities.
LNP Media Group is a subsidiary of WITF. Please support our mission to protect and expand local journalism in and for southeastern Pennsylvania by promoting investigative and public interest journalism and media literacy.