Thought Leadership

Amid higher trust in local news, Gannett and McClatchy choose to stop publishing content from the Associated Press

March 20, 2024
Amy Cloessner

The recent news about both Gannett and McClatchy ending publication of content from the Associated Press before the end of this month, sent shockwaves across the media landscape. They represent two of the largest U.S. newspaper chains and publishers of more than 230 local newspapers combined, and for Gannett, this ends a 100-year partnership with the AP.


Among close observers of local news and trends impacting communities, the decisions by Gannett and McClatchy were not entirely surprising. As recent as February 2023, Gallup and the Knight Foundation collaborated on a study which found 44% of Americans have high emotional trust in their local news outlets compared to 21% who have the same level of emotional trust in national news outlets.


In August 2022, a Spectrum News / Morning Consult Poll had found 83% of Americans viewed local news coverage – particularly on television and radio – to be the most trustworthy. The same poll also revealed 82% of Americans feel local news reporters can be trusted. Overwhelmingly, according to the poll, 87% of Americans are satisfied with the coverage of local news in their community.


These recent observations, among others, may have factored into Gannett’s decision to cut ties with the AP and dedicate more resources to local news gathering and reporting. As Gannett spokesperson Lark-Marie Antón said, “This decision enables us to invest further in our newsrooms and leverage our incredible USA TODAY Network of more than 200 newsrooms across the nation as well as USA TODAY to reach and engage more readers, viewers and listeners.”


As the tectonic plates continue to shift and reshape the nation’s media landscape with a greater emphasis on local news, companies and organizations should align their external communications strategies accordingly. Make sure your local communications and community engagement strategies are uniquely tailored to your priority markets, and that you factor in media influencers and community leaders who are trusted most among your target audiences. Just as the old saying goes “all politics is local,” media today is more local.

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