|A farewell video from the Gallatin North Missourian begins with loading of paper rolls onto its press.|
The pandemic has caused the closure of 70 newspapers in the United States, and "the newsrooms that are closing are mostly weeklies in small communities," reports Kristen Hare of The Poynter Institute, with the latest glimpse from Penny Abernathy of the University of North Carolina.
"Some report they’re merging with nearby publications. But that 'merger' means the end of news dedicated to those communities, the evaporation of institutional knowledge and the loss of local jobs," Hare writes. "At least 14 of the newsrooms now gone are owned by Community Newspaper Holdings Inc. Several are owned by Forum Communications Co." of Fargo. "And a few are — were — owned by local families." Her post concludes with a list, giving details about the papers.
Abernathy, who is moving to a visiting professorship at Northwestern University, told Hare the the pace of closures has been about 100 a year, but has accelerated. “Between places switching to online only and those that are merging, this is a really sharp increase, and not surprising, either.”
The latest paper to close, today, is the Gallatin North Missourian, whose retirement-bound owners announced May 5 that they would close the paper if they didn't find a buyer. They didn't, and the paper's closure is unusual because, unlike most weeklies, it has its own press. Here is its own obituary; its last post is a farewell video that ends with the press stop for the last edition.