Giving Compass’ Take:
• Howard Husock argues that the future of local journalism needs help from bipartisan support and more funding.
• How can journalism advocates use this information to increase support for local news? How can news organizations face the obstacle of consumers preferring free media?
• To learn more about the importance of local news, click here.
The public broadcasting status quo is, once again, pushing back against a White House proposal to drastically cut back the federal appropriation for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting from $445 million to $30 million. That is nothing new as the administration has consistently sought to reduce or “zero out” such funding. This time around, though, public media leadership, particularly that of National Public Radio, is using new rationale for continued funding. Rather than trotting out Sesame Street, they argue that this funding is critical to protect beleaguered local journalism.
“Elimination of federal funding would result in fewer programs, less journalism, especially local journalism, and eventually the loss of public radio stations, particularly in rural and economically distressed communities,” said National Public Radio vice president Mike Riksen. The truth, however, is that the current funding formula mandated by the Public Broadcasting Act is part of the problem. It starves local stations of the funds they need to pursue local stories. Preserving and expanding local journalism means reforming this law passed 50 years ago.
There is no doubt that local journalism is in dire straits. Pew Research Center reports that, because of declining ad revenue and the outright closing of newspapers, the number of local news employees has fallen 47 percent since 2008. The term “news desert” has entered common parlance. Democracy is not dying in darkness at the national level, but is threatened at the community level, as city council meetings go unreported.
Read the full article about the future of local journalism by Howard Husock at Manhattan Institute.
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