Podcast: As 2020 approaches, ‘orphan counties’ struggle for local, relevant news

May 30, 2019

On this week’s episode, CJR Editor and Publisher Kyle Pope speaks with Corey Hutchins, CJR’s correspondent based in Colorado, where he is also a journalist for The Colorado Independent. They discuss the ‘orphan county’ phenomenon, where, because of the whim of Nielsen market designations set decades ago, residents “receive no news coverage and political advertising for their own statewide races, irrelevant information pertaining to candidates in the neighboring state who will not appear on their ballots, or both.” An estimated 10 percent of the US electorate lives in ‘orphan counties.” Their chance for change rests in how Congress, the FCC, and news producers decide to define community.


‘Orphan counties,’ and a battle over what local news really means, Corey Hutchins, CJR


Amanda Darrach is a contributor to CJR and a visiting scholar at the University of St Andrews School of International Relations. Follow her on Twitter @thedarrach.