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The Dire State of Local Media

Good Monday morning from California and happy May. Hoping your week is off to a great start. As alway
The Social Status
The Dire State of Local Media
By Adriana Lacy • Issue #12 • View online
Good Monday morning from California and happy May. Hoping your week is off to a great start. As always, I’m on email at and on Twitter at @adriana_lacy.

One big thing: The state of local media
In News Industry, a Stark Divide Between Haves and Have-Nots
The Wall Street Journal released a well-reported story on the struggle facing local news and its gloom future. We all know that local news is struggling to adapt in the digital landscape, but to see it laid out in the Wall Street Journal full of graphs and charts makes you go “wow.”
Some big highlights
A future without local media?
“It’s hard to see a future where newspapers persist,” said Nicco Mele, director of the Harvard’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy, who predicts that half of the surviving newspapers will be gone by 2021.
Meanwhile, local news publishers are struggling against Google and Facebook’s ad power:
While Google and Facebook have siphoned ad dollars away from all publishers, local news publishers have been the hardest hit. The tech giants suck up 77% of the digital advertising revenue in local markets, compared to 58% on a national level, according to estimates from Borrell Associates and eMarketer.
There’s a future in subscriptions, but it may not work for everyone:
…bigger outlets have been much more efficient at converting online readers into paying digital subscribers than local publishers. 
There is much, much more to dig into in that article, from the disappearance of local newspapers and the lack of online-only sites appearing, to grants in local media. The whole story is absolutely worth your attention.
What people are saying
Mathew Ingram
This is what I like to call the “barbell effect” —if you’re a big national or international brand you are probably going to be fine, and lots of small, hyper local publishers are surviving. In between is the Valley of Death
Eddie A Tejeda
Incredible graphic by the @WSJ showing the number of newspaper closings and openings by state. Texas and Illinois are in a particularly tough spot. Great visibility into the state of journalism.
Nicholas Jackson
This chart will give you a pretty good idea of how impossible the local news business is—and how paywalls and reader revenue aren't really working (at least not yet) for anybody but the biggest. The Boston Globe—the "success" here—still isn't profitable.
Nick Hagar
This chart from @WSJ's local news story highlights the difference that tech and marketing can make. Those resources cost $ and go hand-in-hand with scale, something @MattHindman explores in-depth in his latest book
What I'm reading this week
Study: Major media outlets' Twitter accounts amplify false Trump claims on average 19 times a day
In pivoting to paid, publishers run into tech headaches - Digiday
How major storms alter the local news landscape - Columbia Journalism Review
Verizon Looks to Unload Tumblr Blogging Site - WSJ
One last thing: Let's chat
Did you enjoy this issue?
Adriana Lacy

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