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By: December 2, 2021 Poynter

In many places, it started with a cut in print days. Furloughs. Layoffs. Just to get through the crisis, newsroom leaders told readers.

In some places, none of it was enough.

Now, small newsrooms around the country, often more than 100 years old, often the only news source in those places, are closing under the weight of the coronavirus. 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.

At least 14 of the newsrooms now gone are owned by CNHI. Several are owned by Forum Communications Company. And a few are — were — owned by local families.

Since 2004, about 1,800 newspapers have closed in the United States, Penny Abernathy reported in her research on news deserts. 1,700 are weeklies. The pace of closures, up till now, has been about 100 a year, said Abernathy, a professor at the University of North Carolina’s Hussman School of Journalism and Media.

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