In early January, the Tow Center for Digital Journalism published my report, “Media Mecca or News Desert?” Covering Local News in New York City,” which examined how citywide and hyperlocal news organizations allocate diminishing editorial resources, and the challenges they face filling gaps in coverage. In the weeks and months following publication, two of my interview subjects left their jobs as editors of community and ethnic media outlets to join the staffs of well-funded, citywide non-profit news organizations. Another two, who helmed the digital editions of daily newspapers, were laid off. A few publications received new grants that would allow them to expand their reporting capabilities.
And then covid-19 hit.