Nonprofit Local News: Civic Journalism and America's Future
The pandemic has hurt many industries throughout the United States. For local news media, the COVID-19 public health emergency was nearly catastrophic. Already threatened with economic demise because of the rise of digital advertising and how consumers use free social media tools to consume news, the pandemic put further financial stresses on local news outlets by impacting advertising from shuttered restaurants, bars and small businesses. All of this came at a time, of course, when local news—with information on the immediate impact of the public health emergency, among other topics—was more important than ever.
However, despite the strong challenges for local news outlets, the future may not be so bleak for the industry. Why? A growing number of nonprofit news media ventures are seeking to fill the void for quality local news efforts. Across the country, citizens are increasingly getting local news from new digital ventures focused on a specific region or city. Perhaps most important, philanthropists and major foundations are investing in these new efforts, increasing the chance for sustainability and impact and creating a new future for local news, even at this challenging time.
This program will introduce viewers to two nonprofit efforts—MLK50 (covering the intersection of poverty, power and policy in Memphis), and Cityside (with the Bay Area outlets Berkeleyside and The Oaklandside)—as well as to the co-founder of a new venture philanthropy nonprofit, the American Journalism Project, created to make local sites more financially sustainable.
Please join us for an important conversation on the future of local news and why the future may be in a new generation of nonprofit news outlets. Wendi C. Thomas and John Thornton will participate virtually; Lance Knobel and David Cohn will be on-stage.
NOTE: This podcast may contain explicit language.
Wendi C. Thomas
Editor and Publisher, MLK50: Justice Through Journalism (Participating Virtually)
Founder Texas Tribune; Co-Founder American Journalism Project (Participating Virtually)
Senior Director, Advance Local; Cofounder of Subtext—Moderator