More local news comes from newspapers and their websites than from television, radio or online-only news sources, ABC News reports.
A study by the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism looked at one week of local news reporting across 53 media outlets in Baltimore during July last year. It found that for six major stories, 61% of original reporting or new information came from newspapers and their websites. By contrast, 28% came from local television stations and their websites, 7% for radio stations and 4% for online-only publications.
Although local television produced slightly more content than newspapers, fewer of the stations' stories contained original reporting. Content often included information obtained from other media, primarily newspapers.
"This study does suggest that if newspapers were to disappear, what would be left to aggregate?" director of the Project for Excellence in Journalism Tom Rosenstiel said.
It's not all rosy for newspapers, though. Falling advertising revenue and staff cuts over the last decade have meant that local newspapers aren't covering stories in as much depth or producing as much content as they did in the days before online news, according to the study.
For example, when Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley proposed substantial cuts to the state budget, 26 stories by Baltimore newspapers, the Associated Press, and other publications across the US covered this news. When comparable budget cuts were announced in the same state in 1991, 83 stories on the topic were published in a week, the study found.
Local newspapers have often weathered the recession better than their larger counterparts, although they are not immune. Indeed, many hyperlocal news outlets have opened recently, often with substantial investment from large media companies, although these may not have found the right business model yet. This study shows the continuing importance of local newspapers in such a media landscape.
Source: ABC News