Research indicates that reductions in local news coverage lead to reduced civic engagement, inflated city budgets, more polarization and lower voter turnout. We also know that local news outlets are critical to helping epidemiologists identify and track the trajectories of outbreaks like COVID-19.
Yet if local news is so critical to the health, economic and civic success of a community, why are local news organizations an afterthought in economic development conversations? And what would it take to change that?
For the past two months, I’ve been asking those questions of people who are re-imagining local news and revitalizing local economies. In particular, I’ve been talking with people working to make one or both more inclusive, collaborative and community-centered.
If ever there was a time to figure out the role of local media in building more equitable, resilient economies — and the role of local economies in building more equitable and resilient local media – this is it.