The Local News Challenge and You

America has seen a dramatic decline in coverage of local news.

The digital revolution has massively disrupted the business model for local news. Many news organizations are slashing their staffs. Others are closing altogether, creating a widening sea of “news deserts.” Why does it matter? A self-governed democracy needs an informed citizenry. Local news is the oxygen for engaged communities that enrich our everyday lives.

The crisis in local news is deepening, but there are innovative efforts underway to reverse this trend. From coast to coast, researchers, businesses and foundations are working hard to sustain local news. Northwestern University’s Local News Initiative has taken up this cause. Led by the Medill School of Journalism, Media and Integrated Marketing Communications, the Local News Initiative is playing a leading role nationally in research and development of new approaches to local news.

This is a really big problem for the country, not just for the industry, said Tim Franklin, Senior Associate Dean at Medill. Franklin is head of the Local News initiative, which has launched this website as a place to examine the issues and highlight important research by us and others.

We want and need your help.

Do you have feedback on our stories? Do you want to share observations about the local news crisis? Can you suggest stories that we should write or topics to explore?

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