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Please join the Quantitative Social Science program in a seminar by post-doctoral fellow Erik Peterson
Newspapers provide crucial inputs into the democratic process, yet after widespread layoffs they now do so with 40% fewer journalists than a decade ago. This rapid decline poses a substantial threat to the provision of political news. I offer an account of how staffing affects a newspaper’s political coverage and introduce a panel dataset pairing measures of newspaper staffing with news coverage. I then assess the consequences of these declines for the amount of attention newspapers devote to politics and their use of public records to scrutinize government officials. This offers new evidence on the concentrated effects of these declines on coverage of local politics, but also reveals the resilience of other aspects of news coverage – including an important form of watchdog reporting – to these declines. More broadly, this demonstrates a resource-based channel through which economic pressures affect the political information environment.
Events are free and open to the public unless otherwise noted.