Journalism and Mass Communications, College of


Date of this Version

Fall 2021


Fargen Walsh, J. Martin, J. (2021). A Study of Retention and Recruitment at Southern and Midwestern Weekly U.S. Newspapers. Grassroots Editor, 62(2), 1-13.


Daily and weekly newspapers are closing at alarming rates, leaving readers without local coverage in many parts of the country. More than 5,000 of the remaining newspapers in the United States are weeklies, providing meeting coverage, agricultural news and keeping small towns informed. Yet, not nearly enough research exists about the people working at those newspapers. More than 1,000 email surveys were sent in early 2021 to weekly news editors, publishers or owners in seven states seeking opinions on successes and challenges in hiring and retaining weekly journalists. Survey results and follow-up interviews revealed a number of insights including data indicating weekly newspaper leaders are challenged by lack of funding, lack of qualified candidates and candidates lacking an interest in living in rural America. The weekly newspaper leaders also indicated that staffing challenges have negatively affected local news coverage. Workplace culture and community engagement were two of the main reasons journalists stayed in their jobs.