The Connecticut Desert


If you read CTNewsJunkie you’ve seen a survey asking whether your town is a “news desert.”

We asked Business Manager Doug Hardy about the motivation for the project:

“First, a few people have reached out to us, asking if we could cover things –in areas that we don’t normally cover –because there’s no local newspaper in their town. Or, in many cases, their existing newspaper has all but abandoned covering their local news. In some cases, they are from towns that use the Town Meeting form of government. Voters are expected to approve multi-million dollar budgets without getting much information ahead of time.

“Second, the Gannett-Gatehouse merger is, by all indications, likely going to lead to thousands of layoffs across the country in early 2020. This is a disaster. In my opinion, we’re at a point in the news industry where we really can’t afford to lose that many journalists and still expect to function as watchdogs over democracy and government. Add in Alden Capital’s purchase of the Tribune shares, and it brings the problem much closer to home.”

Hardy said CTNewsJunkie’s survey has received more than 50 responses so far from many different towns.

“Generally speaking,” Hardy said, “most say they’re willing to pay anywhere from $5 to $25 a month to subscribe to some kind of digital news publication that covers their town.”

As a result, Hardy said he has been reaching out to digital news publishers who operate locally-owned digital news sites in Connecticut to see how theymight collaborate to build more coverage.

“Key component is revenue, as always,” he said.

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