Losing the News across the US?: Newspaper Employment Concentration, News Deserts, and Implications for Political Geography

Working Paper

The loss of local newspapers in the US is understood to be a challenge for a functioning democracy.  Relying on a theoretical framework drawn from political geography, this article explores “news deserts” and related concerns about news media saturation in large cities, using newspaper employment and a typology of 15 US county-types to better understand shifts in the US’ newspaper industry.  Overall, we find evidence that most types of communities in the US are losing news, while others have been historically under-provisioned for journalism for at least a decade, if not longer. The connection between partisanship and loss of newspaper employment is examined, and shows mixed results, leaving open questions about the role of the decline in local news media and the larger the reconfiguration of American political geography.