Summary of When Local News Dies, So Does Democracy

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When Local News Dies, So Does Democracy summary
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Some 1,800 newsrooms around the United States have closed their doors since 2004. Hedge funds and management groups looking to maximize profits bought them out and stripped them down. Thousands of journalists lost their jobs as democracy suffered the biggest blow. In this TED Talk, former Denver Post editorial page editor Chuck Plunkett warns that society must do more to preserve local newsrooms and protect the vital watchdog role these institutions play in a democracy.

About the Speaker

Former Denver Post editorial page editor Chuck Plunkett advocates for high-quality local news.



The Denver Post was a robust local newspaper with a staff of 300 reporters until a hedge fund bought it in 2010 and started making cuts.

Upon assuming ownership of The Denver Post, Alden Global Capital reduced the newspaper’s staff by almost half. The rise of the internet, Craigslist and Google cut into the classified advertising revenues upon which print news traditionally relied.

Alden’s directive was to take the Post digital so the newspaper could compete online. The paper’s business leaders predicted the online model would eventually return a profit that would cover the losses of the printed newspaper. Alden demanded the Post cut staff again in 2013 after the paper won a Pulitzer Prize, leaving only a skeleton crew to cover a multitude of beats and to rush out articles. In March 2018, although the paper met profit targets estimated at 20% and created award...

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