Can local news compete online?

By Jake Kreinberg

An associate professor of economics at Hunter College asks what the benefit is for local news websites when their content is included in aggregators.

Editor’s note: We spoke with Lisa George, an associate professor of economics at Hunter College, about her research on the appeal — or lack thereof — of local news on aggregation websites. To hear other perspectives from this series, click here.

Can local news compete online?

Lisa: So everybody’s Google News front page has news local to them. And I looked at how big of an effect this had on local news consumption and local news markets. It turns out that you don’t see that many clicks. And the visits to the local news sites that you do see, they tend to be towards outlets that people knew anyway.

It’s a story about demand, that people, once they’re given high-quality national or international news, or subject-matter news, that they really do like it more. And so it has to be something pretty big even when it’s in front of them to be willing to go and make the switch over to local news.

Jake Kreinberg

Jake is the text and multimedia product manager at The Associated Press and the former editor of Insights. He previously covered college sports as a reporter for AP and helped design its multi-year strategic plan. Have feedback about the blog? Contact us at

insights, strategy series 2015