Within a few hours of Donald Trump being declared president-elect, the first wave of reflections about the future of news media began to emerge.
The existential crisis comes at a time when the economics for much of our industry — especially newspapers — remains as challenging as ever. John Oliver’s clarion call to support organizations like ProPublica and The New York Times’ post-election subscriber surge offer faint glimmers of financial hope, but we need to ensure that the conversations we are having about the role, objectives, and future of journalism do not dissipate.
We also need to ensure that this dialogue extends beyond pollsters, members of the establishment, and big newspapers. Small-market newspapers (those under 50,000 circulation), for instance, account for the majority of daily and weekly printed newspapers in the United States (6,851 out of 7,071). They’re a silent majority too often absent from discussions about the information needs of communities and the future of journalism. It’s time we include them in the conversation.