By now it is widely understood that local news is in crisis. The United States has lost a fourth of its newspapers since 2005, and the loss has led to such ills as lower voter turnout in local elections, more political corruption, and the rise of ideologically driven “pink slime” websites that are designed to look like legitimate sources of community journalism.
Even in the face of this decline, though, hundreds of local news projects have been launched in recent years, from Denver, where The Colorado Sun was launched by 10 journalists who’d left The Denver Post in the face of devastating cuts, to MLK50, which focuses on social justice issues in Memphis. Some are nonprofit; some are for-profit. Most are new digital outlets; some are legacy newspapers. All of them are independent alternatives to the corporate chains that are stripping newsrooms and bleeding revenues in order to enrich their owners and pay down debt.