O’Reilly talks local news at Columbia 1

Chronicle Associate Editor Anthony O’Reilly, center, talks local news.

There’s cause to be optimistic about the future of local newspapers, such as the one you’re holding in your hands or reading online right now.

That was one of the takeaways from a panel discussion, titled “Local News in a Digital World,” held at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism last Wednesday. Chronicle Associate Editor Anthony O’Reilly was one of the panelists discussing a survey conducted by Damian Radcliffe, the Carolyn S. Chambers professor in journalism at the University of Oregon, and Christopher Ali, assistant professor in the Department of Media Studies at the University of Virginia.

Both are fellows at the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia University.

The survey focused on small, local newspapers rather than big publications like The New York Times. According to Editor & Publisher, 97 percent of papers in the U.S. are “small market,” meaning they have circulations under 50,000.

Radcliffe and Ali found there is reason for greater optimism for the future of local news than might be expected — people are still buying local papers, which are often a source of unique reporting and find themselves closer to their target audiences than big metro papers.

O’Reilly was joined on the panel by Rebecca Baker, deputy head of news at the New York Daily News and president of the Society of Professional Journalists, Anjanette Delgado, digital director and head of Audience at lohud.com, John Ensslin, multimedia reporter at The Record in New Jersey, and Jehangir Khattak, co-director at the Center for Community and Ethnic Media at CUNY Graduate School of Journalism.

The event is posted at bit.ly/2iDwYqe.

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