The Economist: Small-town American newspapers – Reports of their death have been greatly exaggerated

JAY NOLAN surveys his media empire from a shed-like building outside London, Kentucky. On his desk is a stack of eight newspapers, including the Berea Citizen (“established in 1899”, circulation 4,511), the Mountain Advocate (“since 1904”, circulation 4,500) and the Pineville Sun-Cumberland Courier (“celebrating 109 years”, circulation 1,646).

Each paper is under local management, with its own publisher and editor, but Nolan Group Newspapers owns a majority stake in all of them and prints them at its press outside London. Together, the eight papers have a combined circulation of about 25,000 and employ a dozen journalists and nine ad-sales representatives. They bring in around $2m in revenue, perhaps $3m in a good year, with a profit margin of about 10%, says Mr Nolan.

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