The value of newspapers to their communities may become most apparent after their demise, according to PSU Professor Lee Shaker. He used Census data from Seattle and Denver to examine civic engagement - and found that it dropped sharply from 2008 to 2009. That was at precisely the time Denver's Rocky Mountain News and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer went to an online-only format.
Shaker concludes that metropolitan newspapers provide communities a unique sense of identification with their cities, and "as dead newspapers are replaced over time by new media, it is possible that citizens' relationships with each other and their society will fundamentally change as well."
Learn more about Professor Shaker's research at the Journalist's Resource blog.