White Paper: Local News is a Public Good


The Colorado Media Project has published a new report, "Local News is a Public Good: Public Pathways for Supporting Coloradans' Civic News and Information Needs in the 21st Century," that explores the hardships to Colorado communities when local news declines. 

The white paper answers the following questions with data and examples from across Colorado and beyond:

  • How do we know local news is good for democracy?
  • What's happened to the business of local news?
  • Where are Colorado's news deserts and what are the implications?
  • What's working and where do we go from here?

The Colorado Media Project also presents five ideas for transforming local news with public support, substantiated with local, national and international research and existing models:

  • Empower local communities and voters to raise local revenues to meet their information needs.
  • Create and fund a state-level, public-private partnership to stimulate local media innovation.
  • Develop programs to help media businesses transition to mission-driven models.
  • Increase support for libraries and higher education to help meet basic community news and information needs.
  • Optimize government transparency for civic engagement, by modernizing the ways state and local entities make information accessible to citizens and the news media.

Download the full version of the white paper, along with essays from individual working group members

This study is part of a broader Colorado Media Project, launched in the summer of 2018, that has engaged a broad-based coalition of civic leaders, students, academics, philanthropists, journalists, business leaders, librarians, technologists and other local residents to study the market forces behind the decline in local news; to understand new opportunities and threats introduced by technology and social platforms; to survey Coloradans on their news and information interests, needs and habits; and to prototype and test new ways to engage a broader range of residents in the future of local news and civic information.


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