The COVID-19 pandemic may be the single greatest defining event for local print publications reshaping distribution, advertising, staffing, and community engagement. Unfortunately, for a number of local dailies, alternatives, weeklies, and free publications, the pandemic could be an extinction-level event.
Local publications have been slashing staff, cutting print frequency, and reducing pay to bring down top-line costs as advertising revenue has plummeted as much as 60 percent as shelter-in-place orders went into effect. But the lockdown has people clamoring for local information. Traffic to newspaper websites has been up by triple digits with readers wanting to know about things like infection counts, COVID-19 deaths, where to get tested, and what’s open.
“This is the perfect example of ‘all news is local,’” said Jed Williams, chief strategy officer for the Local Media Association. “We all need to be very much in touch with what’s going on around…
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