By Kris Leonhardt
Incoming General Manager
By now, most news consumers have heard of the term “news desert.” This term identifies communities and counties that have been left with no local news coverage.
Between 2005-20, more than a quarter of the country’s newspapers have vanished. In conjunction with a decline in publications, local journalists have been swallowed up by other industries as these news deserts dry up. In the past five years, I have watched as community journalists made the migration to corporate marketing jobs by the handful. While their true passion is in local reporting, when the jobs fall away or become more demanding, sometimes they are left with no other choice.
Hundreds of news organizations, including century-old newspapers with deep roots in the community have folded.
A recent UNC Hussman School of Journalism and Media report showed that 225 U.S. counties have no local newspapers and half of all counties – 1,528 – have only one newspaper and most of those are weekly.
Most of the news deserts have appeared in the western part of the country, while the Midwest appears a little stronger.
Wisconsin only has one county – Menominee County –labeled as a news desert.
We are fortunate in Wood and Portage counties, as we have several local newspapers and new entities still at work for the community. We all need your support to make that continue though. Without the community’s support, we would not be here.
As Multi Media Channels continues to work toward preserving local news coverage across the state, we thank you for your continued support of our publication and our ministry. We value your commitment to us.
As I take on the role of general manager in the upcoming year, I invite you to provide any feedback on what we can do for you – the community. Please contact me at [email protected] or 2619 Post Road, Suite D, Stevens Point, WI, 54481.