Local newspapers are facing their own coronavirus crisis

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FILE – This Oct. 14, 2009 file photo, shows copies of the McClatchy Co. owned Miami Herald newspaper in Miami. McClatchy Co., the publisher of the Miami Herald, The Kansas City Star and dozens of other newspapers across the country is filing for bankruptcy protection. McClatchy Co. said Thursday, Feb. 13, 2020, that it will continue to run normally as it pursues approval of its restructuring plan under Chapter 11. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee, File)

NEW YORK (AP) – Just when Americans need it most, a U.S. newspaper industry already under stress is facing an unprecedented new challenge.

Readers desperate for information are more reliant than ever on local media as the coronavirus spreads across the U.S. But newspapers, magazines and digital publishers are feeling the pressure as advertising craters.

They are cutting jobs, staff hours and pay, dropping print editions — and in some cases shutting down entirely.

Some researchers warn that the next recession, which has almost certainly begun already, could be an “extinction-level event” for newspapers. In Washington, the industry is looking for federal aid that won’t compromise its independence.

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