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Disappearing Democracy: The Collapse Of The Local Paper

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News deserts are cropping up across America. A new report shows nearly 1,800 papers have shuttered or merged since 2004, and 171 counties across the U.S. have no local newspaper. This decline has deep implications for civic participation and government accountability, which become even more critical around election time.

Host Frank Stasio speaks with Penelope Muse Abernathy, the Knight Chair in Journalism and Digital Media Economics at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill and author of the report, about media ownership concentration and about the strategies needed to keep strong local journalism alive in the near future.

Laura Pellicer is a digital producer with WUNC’s small but intrepid digital news team.
Longtime NPR correspondent Frank Stasio was named permanent host of The State of Things in June 2006. A native of Buffalo, Frank has been in radio since the age of 19. He began his public radio career at WOI in Ames, Iowa, where he was a magazine show anchor and the station's News Director.