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Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

As local newspapers continue to fall off the map, digital-first websites are cropping up to cover local communities.

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. Web-based news outlets are starting to help fill that void, local news publishing executives say.

For example, Local Independent Online New Publishers (LION), a trade organization, has seen its membership double in the past years to 225 members, said Executive Director Matt DeRienzo. The Institute for Nonprofit News has experienced similar growth.

On top of that, DeRienzo says that the trade group has a database of more than 600 local online news sites that would qualify for membership to LION, meaning they have been evaluated as doing real journalism and are independent.

"We come across new ones every day and every week — ones that have been operating for years in tiny communities that we didn't even know about."
— Matt DeRienzo

Newspaper layoffs have accelerated over the past year as Canadian print tariffs continue to strangle local presses, and as economic pressures from tech companies continue to squeeze ad dollars from legacy news organizations.

  • On Monday, New York Daily News announced it's letting go of roughly half of its editorial team. Other Tronc-owned newspapers, like The Baltimore Sun and Chicago Tribune, are also expected to experience some layoffs, CNN reports.

The Local Media Consortium — which represents dozens of local papers and media companies, like The Seattle Times, The McClatchy Company and Cox Media Group — also says that it's seeing record growth for digital websites of newspapers, some of which are downsizing in print.

  • The group's member websites showed year-over-year growth from from 2016 to 2017 in two key areas: Sellable ad impressions were up 36%, and pageviews were up 17%.
"We're continuing to see growth in subscribers consuming the papers' content online."
Fran Wills, CEO of Local Media Consortium

Local banner advertising revenue for LMC members (generated through the LMC Ad Exchange/Auction Package) has increased over 100% in the last three years, according to  2017 vs. 2016 LMC membership self-reported numbers audited by the Alliance for Audited Media.

Rise of niche, local sites: Wills says there are also a lot of local websites creating hyper-local news around certain interest areas, like sports and entertainment. In the past, some of these sites would only be represented in perhaps a small newspaper section, now they can become entire entities. For example:

  • Dawgnation.com is a niche sports site created by Cox Media Group for UGA football fans in Atlanta/Athens, GA.
  • GuideLive.com is a niche dining/entertainment site created by The Dallas Morning News in Dallas.
  • HS Sportsday: is a niche high school sports site created by The Dallas Morning News in Dallas.

Bottom line: While these efforts can't fully replace the thousands of journalists being displaced from local newsrooms across the country, they are helping small communities access local news and information and, in some cases, are able to take coverage of certain topics or communities to the next level.

Go deeper

Using apps to prevent deadly police encounters

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Mobile phone apps are evolving in ways that can stop rather than simply document deadly police encounters with people of color — including notifying family and lawyers about potential violations in real time.

Why it matters: As states and cities face pressure to reform excessive force policies, apps that monitor police are becoming more interactive, gathering evidence against rogue officers as well as posting social media videos to shame the agencies.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
14 hours ago - Technology

TikTok gets more time (again)

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The White House is again giving TikTok's Chinese parent company more to satisfy national security concerns, rather than initiating legal action, a source familiar with the situation tells Axios.

The state of play: China's ByteDance had until Friday to resolve issues raised by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. (CFIUS), which is chaired by Treasury secretary Steve Mnuchin. This was the company's third deadline, with CFIUS having provided two earlier extensions.

Federal judge orders Trump administration to restore DACA

DACA recipients and their supporters rally outside the U.S. Supreme Court on June 18. Photo: Drew Angerer via Getty

A federal judge on Friday ordered the Trump administration to fully restore the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, giving undocumented immigrants who arrived in the U.S. as children a chance to petition for protection from deportation.

Why it matters: DACA was implemented under former President Obama, but President Trump has sought to undo the program since taking office. Friday’s ruling will require Department of Homeland Security officers to begin accepting applications starting Monday and guarantee that work permits are valid for two years.