More Than 1 in 5 U.S. Papers Has Closed. This Is the Result.

I’m on the cliff, about ready to close, after doing this for more than two decades. We’ve won a boatload of state and national awards, but I, too, am spitting into the wind. We’ve been through costly First Amendment battles, been told we were fake news long before you-know-who started muttering those two words.

We’re currently cleaning toilets at two Airbnbs at our newspaper office to keep the presses printing. If we decide to shut the doors after 141 years, it’ll take us a year to wind down, we figure. We have to run out people’s subscriptions: can’t afford to give refunds!

— Caroline Titus, Ferndale, Calif.

I was the editor and publisher of The Millbrook Independent, which closed its print operation after an eight-year run. We started two weeks after the preceding paper closed, taking local news to a higher plane. We found circulation shrinking and tried migrating to the web, which worked for us but not for readers who didn’t regularly go to our web pages.

School boards, town and village boards, county news, local news — it all disappeared. We were a check on governments, on endless environmental and zoning hearings, on budgets that we often published in detail, on misdoings and good doings.

There is now a void. No one took up the slack.

— Stephen Kaye, Millbrook, N.Y.

Our local newspapers, The Republican and the Daily Hampshire Gazette in Massachusetts, haven’t shut down yet but they might as well have closed. Their staffs have been so dramatically reduced that there is little oversight of local government and local businesses. The checks and balances afforded by this don’t exist, and it is only a matter of time before the potentially corrupt realize they will be able to get away with corruption more easily.

— Stan Freeman, Northampton, Mass.

The Burlington Free Press has not closed, but local issue coverage has been reduced to the point of uselessness. City Council meetings are covered when there is a hot topic on the agenda. Even these get short shrift.

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