Local sectors of vibrant civic community news sites are important for journalism to improve and communities to thrive. In this study, we examine the news ecologies of four metropolitan regions, Chicago, Seattle, Minneapolis, and New York City, to explain which structural features of the local news environment can make or break civic news websites. Based on a Qualitative Comparative Analysis of 137 cases, we conclude that the most significant contributors to sustainability are connection to a postsecondary institution and location within a news network. We suggest how foundations and others can direct their efforts for increasing sustainability.
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