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Inside Olympia — Decline in Local News

In the 15 years from 2005 to 2020, one quarter of the newspapers in the U.S. shut their doors. The closures left 1,800 communities without a newspaper — so called news deserts. Here in Washington, three daily newspapers and more than two dozen weeklies have shuttered since 2004. And there have been consolidations and buyouts. Today, six of Washington’s newspapers are owned by hedge funds. These are among the findings of a lengthy report from the League of Women Voters of Washington on the decline of local news and its impact on democracy. The report examines the crisis, the impacts, the response and looks to the future. Host Austin Jenkins sits down with Lunell Haught, who teaches at Gonzaga University and is the immediate past president of the League of Women Voters of Washington. And Dee Anne Finken, a former reporter for McClatchy newspapers who teaches journalism at Clark College and who co-chaired the local news study.