Tune in to Focus Carolina during morning, noon and evening drive times and on the weekends to hear stories from faculty members at UNC and find out what ignites their passion for their work. Focus Carolina is an exclusive program on 97.9 The Hill WCHL, sponsored by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Penny Abernathy is the Knight Chair in Journalism and Digital Media Economics at the University of North Carolina as well as a former executive at the Wall Street Journal and The New York Times. For nearly a decade, she has been documenting the decline of local newspapers. This has created “news deserts,” or places where there is little access to local news.

“From the very beginnings of this nation, newspapers have played a critical role in both educating our citizens about what they need to know in order to elect officials to make decisions on important policy issues and that also critically feeds into building community.”

Abernathy says it is critical for newspapers to adapt to the changing media landscape and details ways that newspapers can continue to succeed in her book, “Saving Community Journalism: The Path to Profitability.”

“I think one of the hard things for anyone who is running a media business right now to comprehend is how fast everything is changing. So the first thing is you have to commit to change. You cannot say, ‘I am going to sit here and wait and continue to do what I’ve done before.’ I have spent the last ten years studying newspapers that have changed, I have just written a second book that builds on that first bit of research called ‘Strategic Digital Media Entrepreneur’ about how successful news operations think about the change that they have to undertake and how they go about doing it.”