Use this interactive national map to begin your own analysis.  Click on any of the four tabs above and place the cursor over the state to get a snapshot. To delve deeper, select a state in the drop-down menu below the map.

Who Owns Your Newspaper?

Where Have Newspapers Disappeared?

Who is Trying to Fill the Void?

What's New


2018 Report, The Expanding News Desert, identifies the U.S. communities most at risk and delves into the implications for the news profession and the country.

Download a PDF of the new report.

Spotlight on Research: Duke University Professor Phil Napoli analyzes the quality and quantity of local news in 100 U.S. communities.

Spotlight on Newsmakers: Two successful digital innovators discuss the lessons they learned when establishing news sites in New Jersey and Hawaii.

Find Your State to See More

By selecting a state in the drop-down menu to the left, you will be able to explore in-depth the local news environment in all 50 states, plus the District of Columbia.  On the interactive state maps, you can drill down to the county level, comparing and contrasting demographic, economic and political statistics with the prevalence – or lack of – local news outlets.  To use the state maps click on any of the tabs above the map, select a metric (income, population and politics) and then place the cursor over any county. Below each state map is a summary of key statewide facts and statistics. You can click on the links to find more information on any county in a state.

Need a Digital Strategy?

Survival Guide for Community Newspapers

2018 Report: The Expanding News Desert

Learn more about the dramatic loss of local newspapers in recent years and the media barons who are transforming the industry.
Read More

Spotlight on Research

Interviews with researchers examining the information needs of communities and implications for news organizations in the digital era.
Read More

global earth rotating Digital World News Studio Background for news report and breaking news

Spotlight on Newsmakers

Explores how innovators and news organizations are reinventing local journalism.
Read More

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Previous Reports

Learn more about the changing newspaper landscape by reading reports produced by the Center for Innovation and Sustainability in Local Media in 2016 and 2017.

Read More

news desert

[nooz dez-ert, nyooz dez-ert]

noun

  1. a community, either rural or urban, with limited access to the sort of credible and comprehensive news and information that feeds democracy at the grassroots level.

The UNC School of Media and Journalism’s  Center for Innovation and Sustainability in Local Media has a section just for news entrepreneurs and innovators.  Get practical insights from the video lessons and advice you can use from the case studies.  Both the lessons and the case studies draw on extensive research into digital business models by Penny Muse Abernathy, co-author of The Strategic Digital Media Entrepreneur (Wiley Blackwell: 2018).

To survive and thrive in the digital age, community news organizations must think – and act – differently. Publishers and editors of community newspapers and digital sites can get step-by-step guidance on creating new business strategies, and learn how other news organizations are shedding costs, generating new revenue and reimagining local journalism.