News deserts are a growing issue throughout much of the state. More than a third of Illinois’ 102 counties rely on a single source for their news. This was part of the findings from a state task force created to study the decline of local news in Illinois.
The Illinois Local Journalism Task Force, a panel made up of current and former journalists, along with legislators and other appointees, recently presented lawmakers with policy recommendations to prevent news deserts from further covering the state.
Since 2005, Illinois has lost 232 newspapers and 85% of its newspaper journalists (highest loss percentage in the country). The state task force also found that five Illinois Counties don’t have a local news source at all while four other counties are at risk of losing their single news source in the next five years. The report included potential ideas to fix this issue such as: using subscription, advertising and payroll tax credits, along with the possibility of state-funded journalism scholarships.