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The Chicago Defender, a legacy African-American newspaper that "had a national role in the civil rights movement," will end its print publication and switch to a digital-only format next Wednesday, the Chicago Tribune reports.

The big picture, via Axios' Marisa Fernandez: Many local papers have already folded after failing to transition print customers into paying digital subscribers. By 2021, half of surviving U.S. newspapers will be gone, Harvard's Nicco Mele told the WSJ in May. But, 2018 Pew Research shows that digital newspaper ads are on the rise.

Details: Hiram Jackson, the CEO of Defender's parent company, told the Tribune that the Defender "plans to erect a digital paywall to get online subscriptions to monetize the website."

Go deeper: Rural areas are hardest hit by the death of American newspapers

Go deeper

54 mins ago - World

COVID cases surge in South Africa in sign Omicron wave is coming

Recreated from Our World in Data; Chart: Axios Visuals

South Africa alerted the world to the Omicron variant. Now data out of South Africa may serve as a warning of what we're facing.

Driving the news: South Africa recorded 11,535 new cases Thursday with 22.4% of tests coming back positive — up from an average of about 300 new cases, with a 2% test positivity rate 10 days earlier. The country's top public health officials expect that exponential rise to continue as Omicron rapidly becomes the dominant variant.

BuzzFeed to go public, after shareholders approve SPAC deal

Photo by Charley Gallay/Getty Images for BuzzFeed

BuzzFeed is set to become publicly traded on Monday, after shareholders of a SPAC called 890 Fifth Avenue Partners voted to approve a previously-announced merger.

Yes, but: The vast majority of the money the SPAC raised in January was yanked, a signal that investors aren't very optimistic about BuzzFeed's future prospects.

Omicron cases confirmed in 4 U.S. states

A healthcare worker inserts a Covid-19 rapid test into a machine in Denver, Colorado. Photo: Daniel Brenner/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Five cases of the newly-discovered Omicron variant were detected in New York, Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Thursday, making New York the fourth state with confirmed cases.

The latest: In addition to New York, the variant has been confirmed in California, Colorado and Minnesota.