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Rethinking the business of local news

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For years, many American newspapers have struggled to turn a profit. At least 1,800 newspapers have folded since 2004, and over 100 local newsrooms shuttered during the pandemic alone.

To make matters worse, about half of America’s daily newspapers are now owned by hedge funds or other investment groups. To maximize profits, layoffs typically follow acquisitions from hedge funds. This has partly resulted in the decline of the number of newspaper journalists, shrinking from 71,000 in 2008 to 31,000 to 2020.

Still, there are signs of hope. From exclusively digital outlets to a growing number of nonprofit newsrooms, over 70 local news startups have opened shop since 2020, including some in North Carolina.

We sit down with experts and leaders of media outlets to discuss the state of local news in North Carolina and nationwide.

GUESTS

Glenn Burkins, editor and publisher of QCity Metro

Angie Newsome, founder and executive director of Carolina Public Press

Matt Moog, CEO of WBEZ

Elizabeth Hansen, CEO and co-founder of the National Trust for Local News and senior research fellow at Columbia’s Tow Center for Digital Journalism

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Jesse Steinmetz is Producer of Charlotte Talks with Mike Collins. Before joining WFAE in 2019, he was an intern at WNPR in Hartford, Connecticut and hosted a show at Eastern Connecticut State University.