Facebook wants to deliver more local news, but there aren’t enough local news outlets across the U.S. to do so, according to research the platform released Monday morning in conjunction with four academic researchers.
Facebook and rival Google have shouldered blame for creating local news deserts by upending the business models of small, local newspapers. Now, the tech giant wants to invest heavily to reverse that trend in order to provide users with the local news they crave.
1 in 3 users in the U.S. live in places where Facebook cannot find enough local news on Facebook to launch “Today In,” its local news section, which has been rolled out in 40 cities across the country so far.
The Associated Press reports:
Last September, Waynesville became a statistic. With the shutdown of its newspaper, the Daily Guide, this town of 5,200 people in central Missouri’s Ozark hills joined more than 1,400 other cities and towns across the U.S. to lose a newspaper over the past 15 years, according to an Associated Press analysis of data compiled by the University of North Carolina.
Blame revenue siphoned by online competition, cost-cutting ownership, a death spiral in quality, sheer disinterest among readers or reasons peculiar to given locales for that development.
While national outlets worry about a president who calls the press an enemy of the people, many Americans no longer have someone watching the city council for them, chronicling the soccer exploits of their children or reporting on the kindly neighbor who died of cancer. Local journalism is dying in plain sight.