The local news business is in crisis. Marblehead shows us a possible solution.

For this reason, it has been heartening to witness the emergence of not one, but three news organizations in Marblehead over the past year.

As noted in a recent Globe article, the three were born after Gannett, the nation’s largest newspaper chain, decided to shift the Marblehead Reporter from local news to more regional coverage.

One, the Beacon, was started by three family friends who were concerned about the lack of reporting on “things going on in our town that don’t seem right”. Another, Current, was started by journalists who had left the Reporter and wanted to put their local sources to good use. The third, Marblehead Weekly News, is a print publication that also publishes PDFs of its pages online, where readers will hear the satisfying rustle of newsprint every time they turn a virtual page.

Each has a somewhat different business model – Current, for example, is a non-profit funded through a combination of advertising, donations and grants, while Beacon is a for-profit dependent on ad revenue. Whether any will survive will be a challenge in the coming year, when some experts predict a recession that could reduce subscriptions and advertising revenue.

But the mere fact that Marblehead, a town of 20,000, has spawned three new startups in less than a year should give hope to anyone worried about local news coverage across the country.

To be sure, Marblehead is an affluent town with a thriving business district and a highly educated population, the kind of place with a strong market for news and money for it. But Dan Kennedy, a journalism professor at Northeastern University who is writing a book on local news, points out that there are also less affluent communities that are well served by community news organizations. He has documented more than 250 hyperlocal news sites in Massachusetts, a list that does not include regional outlets like the Globe or WBUR.

The New Bedford Light, for example, is a nonprofit digital news outlet founded by experienced journalists, with a staff of about a dozen reporters and editors. His local news reporting is free and often in-depth: Last year, one of his reporters teamed up with ProPublica to investigate aggressive private equity investment in New England’s fishing industry.

A similar dynamic may be playing out elsewhere across the country.

Chicago, where its flagship newspaper for decades, the Chicago Tribune, has experienced multiple layoffs, has spawned several innovative journalism businesses in recent years. Most notably, Chicago Public Media, the nonprofit that operates NPR affiliate WBEZ, bought the city’s daily tabloid, the Chicago Sun-Times, last year and turned it into a nonprofit. Since then, the two newsrooms have added dozens of reporters, said Tim Franklin, head of the Medill Local News Initiative, Northwestern University.

Franklin says equally new approaches to local newsmaking are springing up in affluent suburbs and lower-income rural communities across the country. But the birth of hyperlocal news organizations has not kept pace with the shrinking industry: Newspapers are still closing at a rate of about two a week, according to the Medill study.

For that reason, Franklin says he has joined a number of news publishers who say some form of government intervention may be needed to encourage the start-up of news businesses, particularly in lower-income urban communities or rural areas with low population density. Providing tax breaks to local publishers who hire or retain journalists is one approach on the table in some states; California and New Jersey have also created funds to finance journalism projects or to pay young journalists working in underserved areas.

In Massachusetts, lawmakers hope to soon launch a commission to study news coverage in underserved communities; his work could lead to policies designed to strengthen or create hyperlocal news organizations.

Any talk of government intervention in the local news industry must be carefully considered: where government support extends, government interference is likely to follow.

But the local news industry faces an ever-evolving crisis that, if continued, can only weaken our civic bonds and democratic traditions. For those who care — and that should be all of us — what’s happening in Marblehead offers an encouraging example of what’s possible.

The editors represent the views of the Boston Globe editorial board. Follow us on Twitter at @GlobeOpinion.

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