Ghosting the News

Ghosting the News
Local Journalism and the Crisis of American Democracy

An Epidemic of News Deserts and Ghost Papers

Ghosting the News tells the most troubling media story of our time: How democracy suffers when local news dies. From 2004 to 2015, 1,800 print newspaper outlets closed in the U.S. One in five news organizations in Canada have closed since 2008. One in three Brazilians live in new deserts. The absence of accountability journalism has created an atmosphere in which indicted politicians were elected, school superintendents were mismanaging districts, and police chiefs were getting mysterious payouts. This is not the much discussed fake-news problem—it’s the separate problem of a critical shortage of real news.

America’s premier media critic, Margaret Sullivan, charts the contours of the damage, and surveys a range of new efforts to keep local news alive—from non-profit digital sites to an effort modeled on the Peace Corps. No nostalgic paean to the roar of rumbling presses, Ghosting the News instead sounds a loud alarm, alerting citizens to a growing crisis in local news that has already done serious damage.




Ghosting the News
  • ISBN: 978-1-7336237-8-0
  • Price: 15.99
  • E-Book price: 15.99
  • On Sale: July 14, 2020
  • Pages: 132

Advance Praise

"An excellent introduction to the essential problem of our republic. With a wake-up call like this one, we still have a chance."
Timothy Snyder, author of On Tyranny

"Washington Post media columnist Margaret Sullivan's book about what happens to local democracy when local newsrooms shrivel couldn't be publishing at a better time."
—The Seattle Times

“A no-nonsense retort to the notion that we live in a time of abundant information.”
—Kirkus Reviews


"What Crisis? Margaret Sullivan’s forthcoming book aims to challenge Americans’ complacency about local news" via The Seattle Times

About the author

Margaret Sullivan
© Michael Benabib

Margaret Sullivan is the media columnist of the Washington Post, the former public editor of the New York Times, and the former editor of the Buffalo News, where she started her career as a summer intern. She was twice elected a director of the National Society of News Editors and is a former member of the Pulitzer Prize board. Follow her on Twitter at @Sulliview.