The State of Local News 2023

Vanishing newspapers, digital divides and reaching underserved communities


For the past 15 years, Medill’s Penny Abernathy has tracked the spread of news deserts across the U.S. landscape.

During that time, the local news crisis has metastasized like a slow-moving cancer coursing through the bloodstream of enclaves from suburbia to rural America.

This State of Local News Project has served as an MRI of the health of local news, providing journalists, media leaders, policy makers, philanthropists and scholars with much-needed data, analysis and context.

But our ambition this year grew: What if this project could do more than diagnose a current condition? What if this research could be used as a sort of genetic test of local news, employing predictive modeling to help treat health risks in advance?

This 2023 State of Local News Report is an effort to do just that — not only identify current local news deserts but assess areas of the country at risk of becoming news deserts. And as we chronicle the loss of news, we also set out in this report to document local news startups and to highlight shining examples of news organizations that are showing promise for the future.

Read more from the Local News Initiative