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North Carolina has seen an ever-increasing number of news deserts across our state over the past few decades. 

Many counties are served solely by a weekly publication, and a few exist with no news at all. As communities have limited access to credible and comprehensive news, we must wrestle with the impact on civic engagement and participation.

We’ve seen the impact on state government as well. Fewer legislative reporters are covering the significant policy debates of our time.

EdNC launched in January 2015 with a desire to cover pressing education debates, lift up bright spots and solutions to our most vexing challenges, and use research and data to inform discussion of key issues.

As we traveled North Carolina, we also knew it was important to not just provide content. Our schools and our colleges are grounded in community and we believed it was important to participate in communities as deeply as we could. 

Our Reach NC Voices initiative launched in January 2017 with a desire to build connections across the state so that we might better serve the people of the state, amplify their voices, and engage them in the work of building a greater North Carolina.

We know we can’t do that work alone. Local news organizations matter for local residents. They often serve as anchor institutions that help define and make meaning of the day to day.

We would like to know more about your views of local news. And we would love for you to engage with our Reach NC Voices work below.

The state of local news in North Carolina

“The Expanding News Desert” is a report and project by Penelope Muse Abernathy, produced by the Center for Innovation and Sustainability in Local Media in the School of Media and Journalism at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The project offers insights on the prevalence of news deserts across the country — or counties without a single newspaper — and their impact.

In North Carolina, there are 43 daily and 114 weekly newspapers across the state. Six counties are without a newspaper and 58 counties have a single newspaper. Use our data lookup tool to see the number of newspapers in any North Carolina county.

Note: The data source for the following question is The Expanding News Desert report mentioned above.

Now, let’s see what you know about the state of local news in North Carolina. Answer these four brief quiz questions to see the correct answers.

Your opinions on local news media…

Think of the primary sources you access for local news. Now, we want to know your opinions on those sources. Are they transparent about their reporting? Do they deal fairly with all sides?

The following tool, called Consensus, will allow you to agree or disagree with a set of statements on your local news media. Once you’ve answered at least five statements, you’ll have the chance to add your own.

We first used the Consensus tool in a project called the People’s Session that allowed North Carolinians to weigh in on education policy issues. Click here to learn more about that project.

Let’s learn a little bit more about you…

First, we want to know where you get your news from — be it local, state, or national news.

Great. Now we want to know a little bit more about you. Your answers to these demographic questions help us better understand our aggregate audience and will never be viewed on the individual level.

Thanks. Now, let us know what part of North Carolina you live in.

Continue the conversation with us via text message…

We want to hear from you. What thoughts do you have about local news media? What do you want to see from organizations like EdNC as we work to better serve you and amplify your voice?

Text LOCAL to 73224 to get started.

Thanks for participating in this conversation on local news. There’s more to come. To stay in touch with us as we continue to explore these issues, leave your contact information below.

Nation Hahn

Nation Hahn is the director of growth for EducationNC.

Analisa Sorrells

Analisa Sorrells is the chief of staff and associate director of policy for EducationNC.