Does increased local news coverage impact the local economy? Has there been research on the impact of local reporters and positive impact on the economy?
There is an extensive research record on the role of information on stock and commodity prices. Among the examples:
Th U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has strict rules on how and when they release their monthly reports on unemployment and employment as the news affects stock and bond prices. Individuals who would have access to the information before the public release could make millions of dollars by trading on the information in advance.
The SEC has strict prohibitions against individuals trading on inside information on a publicly traded firm’s future profitability.
Your question deals with the value of a local newspaper that is presumably releasing noneconomic information to the local residents. Individual willingness to pay for local newspaper services has eroded substantially over the past two decades. Jobs in information fell 29% between 2000-2012. However, the sector expanded 16% during and after the pandemic as home-bound customers sought out new sources of information. The growth is not in newspapers that have lost 80% of their employment since 2000.
I would conclude that the value of a local newspaper, in terms of local customer willingness to pay, appears to have diminished substantially as other media news sources have taken a larger role in the information sector.