Community newspapers represent more than 80% of the newspaper ecosystem in the U.S. These papers cover communities that range from a few hundred people to tens of thousands of people. They take a variety of forms, and often, they are the only reporting source specific to a town, county seat, or region.
A vibrant self-governing democracy requires citizens to have access to high-quality, trusted civic information that is created and distributed by accountable community news organizations. A diverse and open society requires people to feel connected to each other and engaged in the communities where they live and work. Traditionally, small-scale community news outlets have served as bedrock institutions for promoting civic accountability and cultivating community self-understanding in America’s small towns and suburbs.
Community Newspapers Are
Local papers are trustworthy because of their closeness to the community and on-the-ground reporting. They combat disinformation through their accuracy and independence. Journalists know the communities they cover, and they report on things critical to the day-to-day lives of their readers, like local business development, crime, cultural events, and sports. Their accountability journalism is focused on school board and water boards, local elections, and municipal budgets. These are the issues of small ‘d’ democracy, and the topics vital to an informed electorate.