Davis: Why a new chapter for 24 community newspapers matters for Colorado — and the nation

Colorado Media Project: As hedge funds and billionaires clash swords over control of big-city newsrooms nationwide, a quiet coalition of heavyweight collaborators has conspired to save a less prestigious — but just as vital — type of local news.

Community weekly and monthly newspapers don’t often break national news or win Pulitzers. The so-called “hyperlocal” coverage of these smaller newsrooms typically includes stories that larger statewide or regional outlets — their own staff capacity stretched thin — may deem unworthy of their attention.

Sadly, these perceptions and realities have left community newspapers especially vulnerable to consolidation, hollowing, and extinction. Nearly one in five Colorado newspapers has closed since 2004 — most of them weeklies, many in rural and suburban areas. Some survive only as “ghost papers” with more ads and filler than original reporting. The trend is mirrored nationwide.

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