Local newspapers across the country are dying, reduced to profit-making machines for distant finance syndicates. They lack quality journalism, civic purpose, and local identity.
The Austin American-Statesman is now one of over 1,000 papers produced under the corporate banner of "the USA Today Network."
My newspaper died.
Well, technically it still appears. But it has no life, no news, and barely a pulse. It’s a mere semblance of a real paper, one of the hundreds of local journalism zombies staggering along in cities and towns that had long relied on them.
Each one has a bare number of subscribers keeping it going, mostly longtime readers like me clinging to a memory of what used to be and a flickering hope that, surely, the thing won’t get worse. Then it does.
Our papers are getting worse at a time we desperately need them to get better. Why? Because they are no longer mediums of journalism, civic purpose or local identity.
Rather, they’ve been reduced to little more than profit siphons, steadily piping local money to a handful of distant, high-finance syndicates that have bought out our hometown journals. My daily, the Austin American-Statesman, was swallowed up in 2019 by the nationwide Gannett chain, becoming one of more than 1,000 local papers Gannett presently mass produces under its corporate banner, “the USA Today Network.”
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