Solutions for America’s Local News Crisis: Policy and Peril

November 19, 2021
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A recording of this event is available below.

Across America, the shuttering of local newspapers is contributing to a growing crisis in trusted local news and information, and an emerging challenge for America’s democracy. Research shows that the disappearance of credible local news and information contributes to widening political polarization, increasing costs for local government and meaningfully suboptimal community outcomes as independent oversight decreases or, in the worst case, evaporates entirely. Moreover, misinformation and disinformation, often from specifically partisan sources, are filling the vacuum. On social media and on digital entities, they masquerade as legitimately reported, locally sourced journalism.

Join us for a discussion with key digital entrepreneurs and leading DC-based policy thinkers devising solutions — including legislation — to remedy this crisis, which has led to thousands of closed or diminished local newsrooms. The panel will include David Chavern, head of the News Media Alliance — leading news industry efforts to allow news organizations to collectively bargain for a better economic deal from Silicon Valley. Steven Waldman, cofounder of Report For America, whose Rebuild Local News Coalition has led to legislation currently under consideration in both Houses to provide fiscal breaks for hard-hit reporters and newsrooms. Past Nieman fellow and CNN executive Mitra Kalita who is cofounder of one of New York’s most promising digital local news startups will provide her perspective as a senior digital-news leader and an entrepreneur inside the ‘arena.’ And former Wall Street Journal publisher Gordon Crovitz, co-CEO of Newsguard, a leading technology company helping distinguish news organizations from ‘pink slime’ propagandists, will provide his views on solutions as well as his perspective on law and policy, which was the subject of his long-running ‘Information Age’ column on The Wall Street Journal editorial page.

Moderated by Nancy Gibbs, Shorenstein Center Director and former TIME Editor in Chief, and Craig Forman, Shorenstein Center Schuster Media and Technology Fellow and former CEO of McClatchy Co.