As local news outlets are gutted and shuttered, reporters laid off, publication schedules cut, and resources tightened across the country, Losing the News: The Decimation of Local News and the Search for Solutions sounds the alarm about the existential threat facing local watchdog journalism and proposes big-picture solutions for its revitalization.
At a time when political polarization is growing and fraudulent news is spreading, a shared baseline of facts on the issues that most directly affect Americans is more essential than ever. Without reliable information on how tax dollars are spent, how federal policy affects local communities, and whether local elected officials are meeting constituent needs, how can citizens make informed choices about who should govern?
Confronted with the scope and stakes of the problem, Losing the News ultimately calls for a radical rethinking of local journalism as a public good. The report concludes that reinvigorating local watchdog reporting will require concerted action and an investment of billions of dollars across the philanthropic, private, and public sectors and advocates for a new congressional commission to develop concrete recommendations for how the government can better support a free and independent local press.
CURATOR NOTE: This report explores the notion that local news is in a state of crisis. One finding is that “Local news also drives civic engagement. With its loss, studies show citizens are: • less likely to vote • less politically informed• less likely to run for office.” Given the current threats to democracy, the rule of law, the rise of propaganda, we need to find a new way to support local news. The consolidation of local news under a handful of companies has created a one-sided, highly partisan monopoly.