What’s a “News Desert?”


What’s a “News Desert?”

An area where no news publication exists to report, share, and herald, either in print or online, what’s happening in the communities who find themselves with no local events calendars or coverage of the platforms and actions of their elected local officials is referred to as a “news desert.” In addition, there’s no local coverage of living conditions including flooded areas, ongoing forest fires, road construction and conditions, obituaries, anniversaries, or accomplishments and awards of residents living in these under-served areas.

Since 2004 more than 1,800 local newspapers across the United States have closed down and many more through drastic reductions in revenue and then staffing have lost their ability to provide comprehensive coverage of their communities.

Headquartered in a college town, some young people we’ve spoken to seem unconcerned about this trend. They believe they can find whatever they need online. But most often what’s online is merely a form of entertainment. Especially of concern are algorithms that present to viewers only trending adhering to their previous preferences.

We all need to know more than we already know about areas of life we may never before have encountered. In fact, it’s not an overstatement that becoming more informed of the deeper levels of value and effectiveness operating right here in your community — people, events, and movements, that you would otherwise never know about is downright transformative.

Life is understandably complex and sometimes stressful. But when you are informed of the deeper levels of society operating right here in your community, a narrowing of focus that sometimes leads to despair is often alleviated. Newspapers, at their best, share, enlighten and delight their readers to see the hidden treasure all around them — people, events, and movements they would want to engage with.

Understandably, when just starting out, young peoples’ priorities need to be primarily self-focused. Establishing themselves financially, figuring out how they will pay off those burdensome student loans, determining where they will wind up living (often dictated by where they can find work), and perhaps selecting a life partner is mighty a tall order!

But once people are further along in life, they often look around to determine what kind of community they are living in and how they might engage and contribute to it — without local newspapers, they will have a hard time finding out about what’s best about where they live and how they can be a bigger part of it.

Back in May 2017 when North Forty News was about to fold, I looked around to see whether Northern Colorado was being served in terms of news coverage. Alarmingly, as our State population continues to grow, I determined that there were entire areas that qualified as “news deserts.” In addition to turning once-cohesive communities into mere locations, I was concerned about the democratic process. In covering officials, their platform and current issues newspapers support democracy!

So here at North Forty News we are committed to bringing you the hyperlocal news of communities throughout Northern Colorado — including your community — the news you want to know — the news you need to know.

Regularly, we hear back from our readers that they appreciate how much we are improving coverage — and as more and more people move to our State, we believe we are right on time!

But we can’t do this alone. In addition to subscribers, we need advertisers, we need supporters (who every month contribute even as little as $1, less than the cost of a cup of coffee), along with people who do even more to cheer us on in our tireless efforts. And we need and deserve the attention and support of key backers in our communities — people who understand the importance of news coverage we are not just maintaining — but expanding!

Help support our work on your behalf by subscribing to either or both of our publications on either of these links:

northfortynews.com/subscribe  or  scenenoco.com/subscribe

Or contact us to learn more about advertising with us including how your ad in our print edition will also show up in our online digital replica of our current edition along with on our website.

Blaine Howerton


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