When newspapers sink across Chicago suburbs one local non-profit newsroom emerges

Since March 2020, The Tow Center in Chicago has tracked newsroom cutbacks carried out during the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. At least 66 outlets have permanently closed their doors, and another 42 have been impacted by mergers and consolidations. Most of the newsrooms affected were local outlets independently operated or owned by small news chains. Many were more than a century old, and had been passed down within families over generations.

However, some communities—aided, in many instances, by national initiatives to revive hyperlocal news—are working to make up for those losses. After its closure last spring, the Waterbury Roundabout, a digital news site started by journalism students at the University of Vermont, picked up where the Waterbury Record left off. In South Dakota, a group of local volunteers created the Kingsbury Journal to fill the void left behind by the Lake Preston Times and De Smet News. In the Chicago suburbs, The Record North Shore, a non-profit newsroom, rose from the ashes left behind by the closure of 22nd Century Media’s fifteen for-profit newspapers in March 2020. The company attributed the shuttering of the papers and at least 40 job losses to the impacts of the pandemic.

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