Local Journalism under Private Equity Ownership

85 Pages Posted: 11 Oct 2021 Last revised: 3 Apr 2023

See all articles by Michael Ewens

Michael Ewens

Columbia Business School; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Arpit Gupta

NYU Stern School of Business

Sabrina T Howell

New York University (NYU) - Leonard N. Stern School of Business; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: April 2, 2023

Abstract

Local daily newspapers historically played an important role in U.S. democracy by informing citizens about local policy issues. In a panel of 1,610 unique newspapers, we show that private equity acquisitions—which have increased over time and affect 262 newspapers in our data—lead to declines in local election participation. Other ownership changes do not. This is best explained by private equity shifting the composition of news away from local governance, accompanied by fewer reporters and editors. It is not explained by survivorship. Overall, the provision of news that is crucial for successful local democracy appears sensitive to firm ownership.

Keywords: Private equity, newspapers, media, local journalism, civic engagement

JEL Classification: G23, G32, H42, L82

Suggested Citation

Ewens, Michael and Gupta, Arpit and Howell, Sabrina T, Local Journalism under Private Equity Ownership (April 2, 2023). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3939405 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3939405

Michael Ewens

Columbia Business School ( email )

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HOME PAGE: http://michaelewens.com

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

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Arpit Gupta

NYU Stern School of Business ( email )

Suite 9-160
New York, NY
United States

HOME PAGE: http://arpitgupta.info

Sabrina T Howell (Contact Author)

New York University (NYU) - Leonard N. Stern School of Business ( email )

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Suite 9-160
New York, NY NY 10012
United States
212-998-0913 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.sabrina-howell.com

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

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Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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