More than 1,800 US newspapers have closed since 2004, leaving expanding "news deserts" with little or no local reporting on public affairs, researchers said in a report Monday.
The study by the University of North Carolina School of Media and Journalism, an update of a 2016 paper, found that more than one-fifth of local dailies or weeklies had been shuttered in a decade and a half.
As a result, "thousands of our communities (are) at risk of becoming news deserts," the report said.
Half of the 3,143 counties in the United States now have only one newspaper, usually a small weekly, and almost 200 counties in the country have no newspaper at all.
"The people with the least access to local news are often the most vulnerable -- the poorest, least educated and most isolated," the report said.