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Dead Newspapers and the Damage Done

pi globeFor the past couple of years, I’ve been working on a paper that examines whether or not there were any negative effects upon Seattle and Denver when they lost one of their major newspapers (the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and the Rocky Mountain News). After a slow process, the paper has now been accepted for publication in Political Communication — a great journal that will hopefully expose the piece to an interested audience.

My research was cited in a feature article in the Christian Science Monitor — subsequently republished by a few other sources like the MinnPost and Alaska Dispatch — and a few people actually came to this website, poking around, looking for the source material.Their interest was exciting but, lo and behold, there was nothing to find here…because I was bashfully waiting for the peer-review process to work its magic.

Now that the paper has been accepted, I’m posting a draft copy here. A commenter on a previous post noted that he wasn’t convinced by my evidence; as of today, you can be the judge. My basic take is: it looks like there may well have been a negative effect of closing a local newspaper on citizens’ civic engagement, but a few more datapoints would be very illuminating. Given a few more years of newspaper closures and US Census data, I guess we’ll get those datapoints. Too bad it’ll cost a bunch of journalists their jobs, and a bunch of citizens their newspaper…

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