More than 100 New York State newspapers form coalition to advocate for local journalism

Nearly half of New York State’s weekly newspapers have closed, more than 3,000 newspapers have closed nationwide since 2005


Today, a statewide group of local news organizations, comprising over 100 local newspapers in New York, launched The Empire State Local News Coalition, a joint advocacy effort to advance a legislative package that would deliver long-term sustainability to the sector. 

The coalition is launching at a watershed moment for the journalism industry — and our democracy. Since 2005, more than 3,000 newspapers have shuttered across the country resulting in thousands of layoffs and countless communities losing essential platforms for sharing their stories. New York State has experienced a 40% decrease of newspapers between 2004 and 2019. Since then, the number of journalists has halved and there has been a 60% decrease in overall circulation. There is a growing number of communities with little to no access to local newspaper coverage: 13 New York counties are down to just one newspaper and Orleans County is the first with no local newspaper at all. 

The decline of local journalism is a threat to the health of our democracy, research shows there is a direct correlation between the breadth of local media coverage and levels of civic engagement — an especially significant factor in an election year. If newspapers continue to shutter, communities across the state risk being effectively disenfranchised, losing the ability to shape policy conversations and hold local officials accountable.  

“The Empire State Local News Coalition is dedicated to advancing a legislative package with bipartisan support aimed at providing a lifeline to newspapers across the State,” said founding member Zachary Richner, director of Long Island-based Richner Communications. “All New Yorkers deserve to have their voices heard, and hometown newspapers are key to that mission. We urge government officials and local stakeholders to rally behind us, safeguarding democracy and bolstering the future of local journalism in New York.”

The Empire State Local News Coalition is championing a robust legislative package that ensures local papers will survive through the 21st century and beyond. Key priorities include: 

  • The Local Journalism Sustainability Act (S.625B/A2958C): Sponsored by Sen. Hoylman-Sigal, this bill provides tax credits to local news outlets for the employment of local news journalists. This critical bill ensures New York’s journalists and supporting workers will have job stability while paving the way for more hiring opportunities and an expanded workforce in the future.  
  • Incentivizing small businesses to advertise in local media. This win-win proposal would incentivize local businesses to advertise in local media, driving revenue for hometown papers,  all while connecting businesses with their customers. 

A 2022 analysis found approximately 354 newsrooms in New York State would benefit from the local journalism payroll tax credit. This includes 53 newsrooms in New York City, with 21 of them being ethnic media outlets serving BIPOC communities.

“Professionally-reported, fact-checked local news forges community, keeps elected officials in check, and strengthens democracy. This important legislation would help fortify our business and allow us to keep reinvesting in high-quality local journalists,” said Adam Stone, publisher at Examiner Media in Westchester.

“Democracy places a responsibility on citizens to be informed so they can effectively participate in the electoral process and in local government. A trusted local news source is essential for that to happen. Healthy communities need an unbiased news organization to connect, enrich and inform citizens,” said Bill Shumway, editor & publisher, North Country This Week. “This legislation would ensure we can continue covering local government meetings each month as part of our comprehensive coverage of six village and town boards, a city council and the county legislature in St. Lawrence County.”

“The bottom line is that this proposed legislation would be a major game changer!  We would be able to increase the number and type of journalists we have on staff. It would allow us to cover more beats, do more video reporting, investigative reporting and expand our "Good News" initiative we have started,” said Mark Vinciguerra, president, Capital Region Independent Media.

“More than ever, we still need local, responsible organizations that collect, research and disperse, for public edification the news and information vital to a community. These organizations are independent local newspapers. Thanks to the internet and social media, many disparate personal and specialty niches build audiences among themselves, often casually; they can be vital and entertaining within the niche. But the serious job , the mission, or serving a broad, inclusive community of neighbors, falls on the shoulders of traditional local newspapers.  The best ones are of, for and about local people and issues, and they serve by following dependable schedules,  no matter how slow business might be in a particular period.  Supporting them and sharing information with them can give exponential returns,” said Dozier Hasty, publisher, Brooklyn Daily Eagle.  

“Village View is a critical source of local news. Its importance is reflected by the fact that we distribute 11,000 copies, by hand, to building lobbies and door stoops all over Greenwich Village and the West Village and we always get calls asking for more. Print media is the only source of local news and views that reaches everyone, from seniors to college students. And the ability of local writers and leaders to write about the neighborhood they live in and the culture they live within is something which cannot be replaced,” said Arthur Z. Schwartz, senior editor, The Village View

“In the fabric of our communities, independent local newspapers serve as the vital threads weaving together stories of triumphs and challenges, keeping us connected to our neighborhoods and shared experiences. Amidst the dynamic landscape of state legislation and the relentless march of technological progress, small independent local newspapers stand as sentinels of truth, weathering the storm of economic uncertainty and digital disruption. Future legislation will not only provide a sturdy base for local journalism, but as a result, bolster the sustainability and resilience of small businesses and communities,” said Bradley Waters, president and publisher, Sentinel Media Co.

About Empire State Local News Coalition:

The Empire State Local News Coalition is a statewide alliance of hometown newspapers dedicated to ensuring the long-term sustainability of local journalism in New York. Since 2005, over 3,000 newspapers have closed across the country, resulting in thousands of layoffs and countless communities losing essential platforms for sharing their stories. If these alarming trends continue, New Yorkers from Oswego to Stony Brook are at risk of losing their ability to have their voices heard and shape public policy. To learn more, visit