News

An economic free fall in the local news industry began long before the coronavirus started wreaking havoc on the national economy. Since shutdowns to combat the virus began, things have gotten much worse, as advertisers halted spending and publishers slashed more journalists’ jobs and hours despite the public’s need for information on the pandemic.
If the coronavirus crisis has taught us anything, it is that the work of journalists and photojournalists is essential. Without it how would we know how our communities are being affected? How would we know the basic measures we need to take to ensure our health?
The news media business was shaky before the coronavirus started spreading across the country last month. Since then, the economic downturn that put 30 million Americans out of work has led to pay cuts, layoffs and shutdowns at many news outlets, including weeklies like The Stranger in Seattle, digital empires like Vox Media and Gannett, the nation's largest newspaper chain.
For journalism outlets in Wisconsin and nationwide, the COVID-19 pandemic could be the biggest story ever. And reporters and editors are covering it even as their future has never looked more precarious.
It’s true that much of the local news industry had fallen on hard times well before covid-19. But the pandemic is inflicting new damage even as it underscores the crucial role of local newspapers. In this public health emergency, people turn to local media for answers to what The Post’s Margaret Sullivan called “life-or-death information” such as “Where to get tested?” and “Is it safe to go outside?”