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Local News as a Public Good: New Pathways for Support of Civic Journalism

  • CU-Denver School of Public Affairs, Terrace Room 1380 Lawrence St Denver, CO 80204 (map)

As the ad-based model for local news struggles -- can more public engagement and support transform and reinvigorate civic journalism?

About this Event

With traditional business models for local journalism near collapse in the digital age dominated by Facebook and Google, more Colorado communities are becoming "local news deserts" with very little original, independent, local news.

Research shows that civic impacts abound when local news outlets close or reduce coverage - the public lacks independent information about important issues, voter turnout lags, local officials have fewer avenues to inform voters and residents, and the perception of reduced government transparency has been linked to higher municipal bond rates and other costs.

What strategies exist for local communities and elected officials to address these issues -- in ways that transform traditional models for journalism and increase citizen engagement? How might existing institutions like libraries, higher education, public access stations, and public information departments expand and modernize their roles in addressing community information needs? What new opportunities exist for public-private partnership in this space?

This panel and audience discussion will include a summary of research findings and recommendations from a October 2019 report by the Colorado Media Project, which convened national, state, and local leaders in journalism, government, libraries, higher education, technology, and law to study Colorado public policy pathways for sustaining local news and civic information.