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

| 07:30 AM - 09:30 AM
Cost/fee: Free
Room Number: Terrace Room (second floor)
Lawrence Street Center
1380 Lawrence Street
Denver, CO

 As the ad-based model for local news struggles, can more public engagement
and support transform and reinvigorate civic journalism?
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? How might existing institutions like libraries and higher education expand 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 an 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.

Moderated by Corey Hutchins, who covers media trends for The Colorado Independent and Columbia Journalism Review and is Colorado College's Journalist in Residence.

Panelists/presenters will include:

  • Melissa Davis, Vice President for Informed Communities, Gates Family Foundation
  • JB Holston, Dean, College of Computer Science and Engineering, University of Denver
  • Gregory Moore, CEO of Deke Digital and Denver Post Editor from 2002 to 2016
  • Mike Rispoli, News Voices Director, Free Press
  • Nancy Watzman, Executive Director, Colorado Media Project
  • Steven Zansberg, Senior Counsel for Ballard Spahr and President of Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition
Breakfast served at 7:30 a.m. Program begins at 8 a.m.
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