Local Journalism without Journalists? Metric Media and the Future of Local News

Asa Royal
Philip M. Napoli
https://doi.org/10.56140/JOCIS-v8-2

Abstract


Over the past 15 years, more than 2000 newspapers in the United States have shuttered, leaving the country pockmarked by news deserts. As local newspapers have closed, networks of online local news sites have risen to replace them. We assess the largest network of this kind, Metric Media, by scraping and analyzing the content of its 999 outlets over a 2.5-month period. We find that Metric Media prioritizes the publication of state and national partisan content at the expense of local news, algorithmically generates most of its content, and fails to live up to its mission of democratizing and revitalizing local journalism.


Keywords: Local journalism; digital journalism; business models; media economics;
economies of scale; Metric Media.