Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on the day's biggest business stories

Subscribe to Axios Closer for insights into the day’s business news and trends and why they matter

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Stay on top of the latest market trends

Subscribe to Axios Markets for the latest market trends and economic insights. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Axios on your phone

Get breaking news and scoops on the go with the Axios app.

Download for free.

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sign up for Axios NW Arkansas

Stay up-to-date on the most important and interesting stories affecting NW Arkansas, authored by local reporters

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Dozens of local newsrooms began laying people off this week out of fear that the economic hit of the coronavirus could severely impact their ad revenue.

Why it matters: Local news was already facing dire strains in the United States. The coronavirus and a pending recession could push the industry into near collapse at a time when people need access to local news and information more than ever before.

Driving the news: Despite the fact that local outlets are experiencing higher levels of traffic and viewership in years, many have wasted no time trying to get ahead of what will be a long, financial struggle.

  • So far there have been roughly 100 known local newsroom layoffs at outlets like the Monterey Country Weekly, the Sacramento News & Review, the Tampa Bay Times, Detroit Metro Times, Riverfront Times, Cleveland Scene, Orlando Weekly, San Antonio Current, and others, per Nieman Lab.
  • Many of the layoffs are occurring at small weekly or non-daily papers and community magazines, Nieman Lab notes.
  • Some have suspended publishing, like Riverfront Times and the Sacramento News & Review, Portland Mercury, The Stranger in Seattle and The Pulse in Chattanooga, Tenn. Others have instituted pay cuts for its employees.

Small broadcasters are already feeling the pain of the pandemic as advertising sales drop off. Neuhoff Communications, which has 20 radio stations, said advertising has been decimated as local businesses close their doors.

  • "Economically, this is devastating,” CEO Beth Neuhoff said in an email. “We are modeling daily on how to keep people when we have no money coming in the door.”
  • The company cut its 401K match on Monday, a move Neuhoff said felt “draconian” at the time. The next move is massive layoffs, she said, and she fears some advertisers may not be able to pay on time for the ads they’ve already sold and run.

By the numbers: "Right now – 2020 could end up 20-25% down in local advertising," says Corey Elliott VP of Research at Borrell Associates, a local advertising analysis company.

  • The irony is that "this is probably the greatest demand for local news that we've seen since before the transformation to digital ecosystem," says Harris Diamond, chairman and chief executive officer of McCann Worldwide, one of the largest global ad agencies.
  • "The local news organizations we are speaking to are reporting very significant new website traffic, as much as five times the daily average,” says Jim Friedlich, executive director of The Lenfest Institute for Journalism, a nonprofit that supports local news and is the owner of The Philadelphia Inquirer.

How it works: "Alt-weekly newspaper businesses are primarily dependent on local venues, bars, restaurants entrainment venues, for ad revenue and this evaporates that," says GroupM's Brian Wieser, one of the top advertising industry analysts.

  • "Local news generally, like local TV and general newspapers, is going to be more dependent on the automotive retail sector and retail more generally.  Not a positive environment for them, but not the same as the alt-weeklies, which are less likely to have any revenue from the national brands who will keep advertising to some degree."

Yes, but: Diamond argues that big advertisers will want to stay in touch with people throughout this crisis, because it's unclear how long it will last.

  • "If local publications can still show that they have audiences, mass marketers and national retailers will be interested," says Diamond.

Be smart: News outlets, in an effort to get more people vital information, are beginning to drop their paywalls. But that provides a major business risk, says David Chavern, CEO of the News Media Alliance, a newspaper trade association.

  • There has been no bump in digital subscriptions, says Chavern — "and while we have seen a bump in digital traffic, the additional digital ad revenue is minimal because that system is dominated by Google and Facebook." 

The big picture: Newsrooms are struggling with how to balance covering the virus while also ensuring the safety of their employees. For local newsrooms that are already strapped for resources, moving to a work-from-home framework can be a real challenge.

  • "Newsrooms need equipment and services needed to help work remotely; this category includes telecom costs, Slack subscriptions, Zoom or other video services, even laptops or other equipment," says Friedlich.

Our thought bubble: While there are some relief measures underway, it's likely they will not be enough to solve for the crisis. Still, this could be the push that the local news industry needs to really transition to digital.

  • “We will look back on these events as a moment at which the newspaper industry’s transition from print to digital accelerated meaningfully," says Friedlich.

The bottom line: "With the rapid drop in general ad revenue, overall revenue is dropping fast while costs and need are rising. This is on top of decades of financial stress. There is no fat in the system," says Chavern.

Go deeper: How newsrooms are preparing for coronavirus while also covering it

Go deeper

Updated 55 mins ago - Economy & Business

The next worker fight: Time off for Juneteenth

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Who gets paid time off to celebrate Juneteenth in the years to come will be uneven and complicated, if history is any guide.

Why it matters: Corporate America hasn't grappled with a new federal holiday since Martin Luther King Jr. Day was authorized almost 40 years ago. How they responded took years to evolve.

55 mins ago - World

UN assembly condemns Myanmar military coup

Protesters make the three-finger salute as they take part in a flash mob demonstration against the military coup. Photo: AFP via Getty Images

The UN General Assembly on Friday condemned Myanmar's military coup and called for an arms embargo against the country, AP reports.

Why it matters: The rare move demonstrates widespread global opposition to Myanmar's military junta, which overthrew the country's democratically elected government and seized power on Feb. 1.

Pakistan PM will "absolutely not" allow CIA to use bases for Afghanistan operations

Pakistan will "absolutely not" allow the CIA to use bases on its soil for cross-border counterterrorism missions after American forces withdraw from Afghanistan, Prime Minister Imran Khan tells "Axios on HBO" in a wide-ranging interview airing Sunday at 6pm ET.

Why it matters: The quality of counterterrorism and intelligence capabilities in Afghanistan is a critical question facing the Biden administration as U.S. forces move closer to total withdrawal by Sept. 11.