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Media News

Poll Warning Signs Are Back, Says Nate Cohn

The New York Times chief political analyst Nate Cohn rains on Democratic candidates’ parade this week with a reminder that – remember how off those polls were in 2016 and 2020? – Dems’ poll numbers are looking rosy in exactly the places surveys misjudged the most in 2020. Are we looking at another mirage? 

CNN Axes Brian Stelter’s ‘Reliable Sources’, One of Last National Shows About News Business

Brian Stelter, host of CNN’s “Reliable Sources” told NPR the cable network was ending his show, a weekly analysis of the news media, and that he would leave CNN after its last episode. The cancellation leaves only one national show analyzing the news business, “BuzzFeed” hosted by Howard Kurtz on Fox News.  

Public Broadcasting in the News

NewsHour Staff Announce Plan to Unionize

Content creation staff at Arlington, Va.-based WETA subsidiary NewsHour Productions, which produces PBS NewsHour, PBS NewsHour Weekend and Washington Week, announced their intent to form a union, Current reports. 

PBS Legal Promotes Rosen, Hires Stillwell from NPR

The PBS Legal department promoted Talia Rosen to vice president of standards and practices and associate general counsel while hiring Walter Stillwell as VP and associate general counsel. Stillwell last worked at NPR, which announced internal promotions in its editorial ranks, reports Current.

News Deserts

Do you live in a ‘news desert’? The University of North Carolina’s Hussman School of Journalism looks at the growing gaps in news coverage left by the closures of local newspapers around the country.  The report is available here

American Newspapers Keep Closing and ‘News Deserts’ Keep Growing

(June 29, 2022) Washington Post media critic Margaret Sullivan writes that one-third of U.S. newspapers will that existed two decades ago will be out of business by 2025, according to research made public from Northwestern University’s Medill School. 

Link to media release about the study and related multimedia downloads here.

Nonprofit Newsrooms a Promising New Model for Local News, Writes Margaret Sullivan

(Jan. 22, 2022) Washington Post media columnist Margaret Sullivan writes that nonprofit newsrooms like the Texas Tribune, show promise as a prospective new model for struggling local news. 

Family-run Iowa Newspaper Spotlighted in PBS Doc About Local Journalism

A documentary about the struggles of local journalism – think newspapers that cover the daily news of a town like Storm Lake, Iowa (population: 10,000) – airs the week of Nov. 15 on PBS. The Storm Lake Times, the subject of the film, is the second smallest news organization ever to win a Pulitzer Prize. It fills a vital need in this rural community.  Poynter has a write-up on the project, as does The Houston Press

Nonprofit Newsrooms Increasingly Filling Local News Void

The latest Institute for Nonprofit News survey, known as the INN Index, found that a growing portion of nonprofit newsrooms are dedicated to local public affairs, Neiman Labs reported. 

When Texas Border Town Lost Its Only Paper, Local Start-up Filled Void

When the Southwestern border town of Del Rio, Texas, lost its only newspaper, a local man stepped in with an investment in print, turning his event-oriented website into a news outlet with a print edition. He’s helping fight back against the encroaching edges of a news desert.

...more on 'News Deserts' and what PBS can do about them (older coverage)

Against the growing phenomena of news deserts in the United States – areas where local news outlets have failed or have been gutted by the loss of ad revenue – PBS is being called upon to act. One suggested remedy is overhauling the way the Corporation for Public Broadcasting issues grants for public affairs programming, from a Washington, DC -based metric to spending decided by local news producers. ...

Why ‘Withering’ of Local News Landscape is Dangerous for Democracy 

(Sept. 1, 2020) PBS NewsHour interviews media critic Margaret Sullivan of The Washington Post about so-called news deserts and what they mean for U.S. democracy.