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Amid the pandemic, publishers have come up with new sources of revenue and tapped new support for diversity, equity and inclusion. Here are some solutions worth sharing.

Whether it’s on TV or radio, in a newspaper or online, local news has had the struggle of its life. The loss of so many local businesses during the pandemic has led to shrinking advertising revenues, and the online ad market is dominated by Facebook and Google. Making a pitch for subscriptions or donations can also be difficult when people have less income.

There is no silver bullet for the business of local…


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During the biggest public health crisis in a century, local news reporters are on the front lines giving communities vital information — and funders have stepped up to help

In a time of crisis, people turn to local news outlets to understand what’s happening and how they can get help. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit last spring, local news outlets stepped up by becoming front-line workers themselves.

In the course of covering government, hospitals, local businesses and more, they had to do this work in public, interacting with people and putting themselves at risk of getting the virus. …


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It’s never been a more challenging time for local news — and a more impactful time for funders to make the leap to support them

During the pandemic, racial reckoning, and election last year, it became obvious just how important local news is to communities around the country. Despite their own financial troubles, local news outlets are providing vital, life-saving information, recently becoming a lifeline with vaccine distribution information. And they have proven to be trusted sources of info as social media platforms have been flooded with misinformation and false rumors.

So while it might be the worst of times…


Local news outlets around the state got creative to bring in new revenue sources during this challenging year

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It’s been a tough year for local news outlets around New Mexico, with many suffering massive drops in advertising revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and having to lay off or furlough staff or cut pay. It’s obvious that when the local economy suffers, so do local news organizations.

But they’ve also distinguished themselves by providing timely and vital information about COVID-19 in their communities, as well as covering racial reckoning protests and local elections. …


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For-profit publishers solicit more grants and donors, while nonprofits look for more earned revenues; DEI-led startups get funding and support

2020 was a very bad year for local businesses in America during the COVID-19 pandemic. By July, more than 420,000 small businesses across the country had closed permanently, according to Stephen Hamilton, an assistant professor of economics at George Washington University. Hamilton believes that 13% of U.S. restaurants permanently closed, leaving 1.4 million people unemployed.

Meanwhile, local publishers had more news than ever to cover, with a lot less local advertising support. How did they survive and thrive during such…


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As legacy media struggled during the pandemic, many nonprofit outlets shone, with NewsMatch as a catalyst for bringing in more donations

In the narrative about the struggling local news business in America, we hear mostly about layoffs, pay cuts and even closures of publications this year due to the pandemic. But what we rarely hear about is the resilience, the staying power and the growth of nonprofit local news. In 2020, the membership of the Institute for Nonprofit News (INN) rose by more than 25% — reaching a total of 300 nonprofit news organizations for the first time.

“Perhaps the…


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Engagement collaborations, texting platforms, community media are trying to reach people in underserved communities where journalists are scarce.

Living in San Francisco, I have a lot of news sources to find out how the coronavirus is affecting my community. There’s the main San Francisco Chronicle website and app, which has provided COVID-19 case maps down to the ZIP code, and recently has been tracking which counties can reopen businesses. There’s also a full complement of local TV news, local public radio, and even neighborhood news sites, parent email lists and of course Nextdoor. Basically, I live in a news ocean.


Despite their struggle with shifting business models, there are bright spots in nonprofit news, collaboratives and crucial reporting on the front lines of COVID-19.

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Although the collapse of local news during the coronavirus pandemic has been the dominant narrative in media circles, with gloomy forecasts for civic engagement and understanding, the Knight Foundation, local funders, universities, activists and others have been galvanizing resources to turn some of these news deserts into what we’re calling “civic bright spots.”

From Philadelphia and Chicago to Charlotte and Macon, these are areas around the country where different models of collaborative and solutions-oriented journalism are…


Publishers focus on sustainability in challenging times, as they push for more fundraising, memberships, grants and government support

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In the best of times, local news publishers were challenged to shift their business models due to digital disruption and the growing online ad dominance of Google and Facebook. Now, in the worst of times during the COVID-19 pandemic, publishers must shift even harder to reach sustainability in the face of dwindling advertising revenues and an audience that is suffering economically even as they depend on vital, factual information more than ever.

So while local news has an essential role to play…


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During the pandemic, local news publishers and journalists have become essential sources of trusted information

The horrific spread of the novel coronavirus across America has prompted an outpouring of questions from confused citizens in communities who need answers. What will happen to the most vulnerable among us? Where can I get food? How many hospitalizations have there been in my neighborhood? How do I support people who need help? …

Mark Glaser

Advisor + consultant. Supporting Dot Connector Studio and Knight Foundation in local news. Founder of MediaShift.

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