Digital-first local websites are starting to partially fill the void left by the slow death of local newspapers.
Why it matters: About a third of large U.S. newspapers have suffered layoffs since 2017, according to a new study from Pew Research Center.
â€” Matt DeRienzo, executive director, Local Independent Online News Publishers (LION)
On top of that, DeRienzo says that the trade group has a database of 600+ of local online news sites that would qualify for membership to LION, meeting their requirements of doing real journalism and being independent â€” and they come across new ones every day.
The Local Media Consortium â€” which represents dozens of local papers and media companies, like The Seattle Times, The McClatchy Company and Cox Media Group â€” also says that it's seeing record growth for digital websites of newspapers, some of which are downsizing in print.
The rise of niche, local sites: LMC CEO Fran Wills says there are also a lot of websites creating hyper-local news around certain interest areas, like sports and entertainment.
The bottom line: While these efforts can't fully replace the thousands of journalists being displaced across the country, they are helping small communities access local news and information. In some cases, they are able to take coverage of certain small topic areas or communities to the next level.
Go deeper: Read the full story.