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Public Newsroom 86: Reimagining Public Funds to Rebuild Local News


Public Newsroom 86: Reimagining Public Funds to Rebuild Local News
Wednesday, November 14, 6:00-8:00PM

Newsroom employment in the United States dropped by 23 percent from with most of those jobs losses coming from newspapers, according to Pew Research Center released in July. Meanwhile on the economics side, Pew found that revenue from advertisement for newspapers declined 10 percent between 2016 and 2018. 

The local news crisis has left many communities in the dark. But it’s also led to new opportunities to transform what local media looks like. Most recently, Free Press, a nonprofit media and technology advocacy organization, led a statewide campaign in New Jersey that would reimagine public funding of media to support innovative ideas in local news and to keep communities informed and engaged.

This summer, two years of effort paid off, when Gov. Murphy signed the “Civic Info Bill,” a first-of-its-kind public nonprofit that would invest millions of dollars into projects meant to revitalize local news, community information, civic engagement and technology across the state.

This grassroots campaign to pass legislation to support the future of local news brought together a cohort of local organizers, universities, artists, students, media-makers, and other stakeholders. For New Jersey folks, this effort showed that the public will take action to keep their communities informed – but only if you build investment in them and listen to their concerns. 

So how does it work? What lessons have emerged that can be considered beyond New Jersey? Could other newsrooms, nonprofits and civic agents try to launch a campaign where they live? What can journalists learn from organizers when it comes to getting people invested in supporting local media?

This week at the Public Newsroom we’ll answer the above and more with Free Press’ Mike Rispoli and James Thompson. A reception will follow the discussion with snacks and drinks.

This installment of the Public Newsroom is a special event of the 2018 People-Powered Publishing Conference, where attendees can connect, dialogue and get their creative gears turning before the conference formally kicks off. You can read more about the two-day conference here:

PLEASE NOTE: We are hosting this Public Newsroom on a WEDNESDAY not our usually Thursday. 


City Bureau's #PublicNewsroom is a series of free, weekly workshops and discussions aimed at building trust between journalists and the communities they serve while shaping a more inclusive newsroom.