News Organizations Are The Lifeblood Of Community & We Need Your Support

Business Features Industry New York State News
RCBJ-Audible (Listen For Free)
Voiced by Amazon Polly

More Than 3,000 Local Newspapers Have Disappeared Nationwide Since 2005: Hyper-Local News Organizations Like RCBJ Are Filling The Void

People depend on local news to figure out what’s happening in their town, what to speak up about at town board meetings, when to organize for change, and more. From daily reporting that keeps people in the know to deeper investigations that expose corruption, the health of local news is tied up with the health of our democracy.

As you probably know, communities across the United States have been losing access to this kind of civic information while newspapers are gobbled up by hedge funds and corporate entities. According to data released in June 2022, at least one fifth of the U.S. — 70 million people — live in a community without a newspaper or a community at risk of losing theirs.

Since 2005, more than 3,000 local newspapers across the country have closed, and New York has seen a 40 percent decrease in newspapers from 2004 to 2019.

Lucky for Rockland County, and other communities, hyperlocal news sites have stepped in to fill the void. Local news — with local owners who understand the importance of news — keeps people engaged with their physical location and local government. Local newspapers – not Facebook or social media — build a community’s sense of shared connection and place, and it’s not easy to replace that.

Democracy Fund, a think tank, has been tracking the loss of local news media and found:

  • People who consume local news are more likely to vote locally.
  • Voters have been more likely to vote in down-ballot races in places with more local newspapers per capita.
  • Consuming local journalism is associated with consistent voting in local elections and a strong connection to community.
  • Local news availability keeps leaders accountable to constituents rather than the national party.

On the downside, its research also found:

  • Places that lost a local newspaper experienced a “significant” drop in civic engagement compared to cities that didn’t lose one.
  • When a newspaper shutters, fewer candidates run and incumbents are more likely to win.

When purchased by corporate giants, local news becomes less robust, relevant, and less local. The quantity and quality of local news decreases in correlation to these acquisitions by media conglomerates, according to Democracy Fund’s research.

Further, paywalls limit access to information that is critical to local media’s civic role. While paywalls are a helpful revenue stream for media facing financial pressure, they also “challenge the civic function of the local news media,” the report said.

Rockland County Business Journal (RCBJ) provides free news on its news site ( and via a free daily newsletters. We disseminate our stories through social media and on Will & Jeff’s morning segment on WRCR AM 1700.

In New York, an effort is underway to bolster newspapers. More than 100 newspapers are coming together to form a coalition called the Empire State Local News Coalition, which is urging lawmakers to deliver a long-term sustainability package for the journalism industry.

“All New Yorkers deserve to have their voices heard, and hometown newspapers are key to that mission. We urge government officials and local stakeholders to rally behind us, safeguarding democracy and bolstering the future of local journalism in New York,” Zachary Richner, the director of Richner Communications, said in a statement.

The group has two main aims: the passage of the Local Journalism Sustainability Act (S.625B/A2958C) that would give tax breaks for the hiring of journalists as well as incentives for small businesses to advertise in local media.

In the meantime, RCBJ is asking for your support so that we can keep doing what we do.

We are setting out to launch the Housing & Environmental Reporting Initiative, a long-term project that will focus on our local built environment, affordable housing, land-use issues, comprehensive planning, open space and other related issues. Coverage of these issues and our dedication to government, developer and corporate accountability are crucial to the future of our community and our region.

If you believe that local journalism must play a greater role on these issues, please donate to the Rockland County Business Journal Reporting Project via Local Media Foundation. Contributions to this fund will help pay for the news resources needed to dig deep on issues affecting our local housing needs and built environment.

Make A Tax Deductible Donation

Donations can also be mailed directly to our Fiscal Sponsor. Make checks payable to the “Local Media Foundation” P.O. Box 85015, Chicago, IL 60689-5033 and note Rockland County Business Journal in the memo line. Contributions to this fund will help pay for the news resources needed to dig deep on issues affecting our local housing needs and built environment.

The Rockland County Business Journal Reporting Project seeks to expand reporting on important local issues such as housing and the environment. Donations to Local Media Foundation for this project are tax-deductible to the extent of the law. No goods or services are provided in exchange for contributions. Please consult a tax advisor for details. The program is administered by Local Media Foundation, tax ID #36‐4427750, a Section 501(c)(3) charitable trust affiliated with Local Media Association.