Dec 19, 2023 - News

Local news is shrinking in California and nationwide

Local news outlets, by county
Data: Adapted from Medill Local News Initiative; Note: Includes newspapers, public broadcasting outlets, ethnic media outlets and digital sites that cover local news; Map: Simran Parwani/Axios

California has lost one-third of its newspapers since 2005 and four counties have zero news outlets, mirroring a national trend highlighted by a new report.

Why it matters: The divide between those with access to quality local news and those without is growing in America, Axios' Sara Fischer reports.

  • The authors of the report argue that dynamic "poses a far-reaching crisis for our democracy as it simultaneously struggles with political polarization, a lack of civic engagement and the proliferation of misinformation and information online."

State of play: The decline of local newspapers accelerated so rapidly in 2023 that analysts now believe the U.S. will have lost one-third of the newspapers it had as of 2005 by the end of next year — rather than in 2025, as originally predicted.

Zoom in: While San Diego County is home to more news outlets than most, it has fewer than the counties covering Los Angeles and Chicago. It's on par with Seattle, Detroit, Brooklyn and Manhattan.

Between the lines: The report found that consolidation of newspaper ownership "has been a significant driver" in the loss of papers and journalists.

  • Tribune and MediaNews, which includes the Union-Tribune, is the second largest chain and is owned by investment firm Alden Global Capital.

By the numbers: San Diego County's news outlets include:

Editor's note: This story was updated to specify the description of Alden as an investment firm.

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