Civic engagement in Denver and Seattle "dropped significantly from 2008 to 2009," Portland State University professor Lee Shaker says in a paper published at the end of January called "Dead Newspapers and Citizens’ Civic Engagement" (the published version is paywalled, but Shaker posted a draft of the report last year; all quotes below are from that.) While Shaker allows that other factors may have influenced the drop, measured by the Current Population Survey, it "may plausibly be attributed to the newspaper closures" in those cities.
Denver's Rocky Mountain News closed in February 2009, and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer published its last print edition the next month. (The P-I remained in business as a Web-only news outlet with a much smaller staff.)
Shaker's study controls for other reasons for the drop, including that 2008 was a presidential election year, but found in eight comparable cities that didn't lose a print paper, "indicators were not significantly different" in 2009 than the year before. (more...)