Virus fallout: Local news outlets allowed to stay open but can they?

California is among the number of states in which news publishers and broadcasters are allowed to continue their work as other businesses are ordered to shut down as nonessential. (New Media Alliance, March 26, 2020, by Staff)

But with local businesses closing and withdrawing ads, local newspapers are laying off reporters and asking others to work without pay. At a time when they are needed to cover the pandemic, local news is struggling for survival. (The New York Times, March 23, 2020, by Tiffany Hsu and Marc Tracy)

Even nonprofit news organizations are in trouble as they often depend on local foundations now losing revenue with the collapse of the stock market. Many communities already lost their news sources creating “news deserts” and lack of critical local news pertaining to the pandemic. It’s suggested that the federal government include news outlets in the stimulus to insure accurate information gets to the public. (The Atlantic, March 25, 2020, by Steven Waldman and Charles Sennott)

Margaret Sullivan of The Washington Post, March 26, 2020, is among those asking for a stimulus. She writes, “News-industry experts have been predicting for years that a recession or severe economic downturn would deliver a death blow to these already troubled businesses. And now a public-health crisis has come along to threaten exactly that.”

For related FAC coverage, click here.

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