Growth in public funding for news and information at the state and local levels

“By taking these efforts down to the state level, we are able to engage people in a way that’s not possible when hyperpartisan politicians in Washington DC are fighting over Big Bird.”

By now the crisis-for-local-news narrative is familiar. Everyone paying attention knows that the advertising-supported business model only barely pays the bills (e.g. Pickard, 2022), while the platforms (primarily Google and Facebook) get rich (Bell, 2021). We are aware of the problem of mis/disinformation seeping down to the local level, sometimes in the form of pink slime outlets (Bengani, 2019). And attention is still fragmented as only the most civically engaged tune in to local journalism (Prior, 2007).

However, there are bright spots, too: Nonprofit news outlets continue to multiply in number (INN, 2022). Philanthropy is pouring money into journalism at an unprecedented rate (Glaser, 2021). Local news outlets are gaining reliable audience revenue in the form of subscriptions and memberships (Chandler, 2022). And now, for the first time, there is growth in public funding for news and information initiatives at the state and local levels.

Here in New Jersey the Civic Information Consortium, begun in 2018, is entering its fourth round of grantmaking. Nearly $2.5 million has gone to 27 projects that span from arts organizations to local nonprofits to hyperlocal news startups. What began as a hope and a prayer has now turned into a robust funding mechanism to strengthen the state’s news and information for the digital age (Rispoli, 2022).

And New Jersey’s not alone. In California, the state legislature just granted $25 million “to support and strengthen local reporting in underserved and historically underrepresented areas across the state” (Natividad, 2022), a program which will be run out of the University of California-Berkeley. The Wisconsin legislature considered (but failed to pass) a tax credit for businesses who advertise in local media, which would have given back 50% of the cost of the ads, up to $5,000. Other innovations at the local level, like news vouchers similar to “democracy vouchers” for campaign financing currently in use in Seattle, are being incubated.

Of course, none of these efforts bring the U.S. anywhere close to other developed democracies in terms of the percentage of GDP spent on public media (Benton, 2022). But by taking these efforts down to the state level, we are able to engage people in a way that’s not possible when hyperpartisan politicians in Washington DC are fighting over Big Bird.

Sarah Stonbely, PhD is the research director at the Center for Cooperative Media in Montclair, New Jersey.

By now the crisis-for-local-news narrative is familiar. Everyone paying attention knows that the advertising-supported business model only barely pays the bills (e.g. Pickard, 2022), while the platforms (primarily Google and Facebook) get rich (Bell, 2021). We are aware of the problem of mis/disinformation seeping down to the local level, sometimes in the form of pink slime outlets (Bengani, 2019). And attention is still fragmented as only the most civically engaged tune in to local journalism (Prior, 2007).

However, there are bright spots, too: Nonprofit news outlets continue to multiply in number (INN, 2022). Philanthropy is pouring money into journalism at an unprecedented rate (Glaser, 2021). Local news outlets are gaining reliable audience revenue in the form of subscriptions and memberships (Chandler, 2022). And now, for the first time, there is growth in public funding for news and information initiatives at the state and local levels.

Here in New Jersey the Civic Information Consortium, begun in 2018, is entering its fourth round of grantmaking. Nearly $2.5 million has gone to 27 projects that span from arts organizations to local nonprofits to hyperlocal news startups. What began as a hope and a prayer has now turned into a robust funding mechanism to strengthen the state’s news and information for the digital age (Rispoli, 2022).

And New Jersey’s not alone. In California, the state legislature just granted $25 million “to support and strengthen local reporting in underserved and historically underrepresented areas across the state” (Natividad, 2022), a program which will be run out of the University of California-Berkeley. The Wisconsin legislature considered (but failed to pass) a tax credit for businesses who advertise in local media, which would have given back 50% of the cost of the ads, up to $5,000. Other innovations at the local level, like news vouchers similar to “democracy vouchers” for campaign financing currently in use in Seattle, are being incubated.

Of course, none of these efforts bring the U.S. anywhere close to other developed democracies in terms of the percentage of GDP spent on public media (Benton, 2022). But by taking these efforts down to the state level, we are able to engage people in a way that’s not possible when hyperpartisan politicians in Washington DC are fighting over Big Bird.

Sarah Stonbely, PhD is the research director at the Center for Cooperative Media in Montclair, New Jersey.

Ståle Grut   Your newsroom experiences a Midjourney-gate, too

Jessica Maddox   Journalists keep getting manipulated by internet culture

Eric Ulken   Generative AI brings wrongness at scale

Jarrad Henderson   Video editing will help people understand the media they consume

Sarabeth Berman   Nonprofit local news shows that it can scale

Mariana Moura Santos   A woman who speaks is a woman who changes the world

AX Mina   Journalism in a time of permacrisis

Tamar Charney   Flux is the new stability

Rodney Gibbs   Recalibrating how we work apart

Mar Cabra   The inevitable mental health revolution

Mary Walter-Brown and Tristan Loper   Mission-driven metrics become our North Star

Ben Werdmuller   The internet is up for grabs again

Cari Nazeer and Emily Goligoski   News organizations step up their support for caregivers

Janet Haven   ChatGPT and the future of trust 

Ryan Nave   Citizen journalism, but make it equitable

Nicholas Jackson   There will be launches — and we’ll keep doing the work

Raney Aronson-Rath   Journalists will band together to fight intimidation

Taylor Lorenz   The “creator economy” will be astroturfed

Joshua P. Darr   Local to live, wire to wither

Kaitlyn Wells   We’ll prioritize media literacy for children

Leezel Tanglao   Community partnerships drive better reporting

David Skok   Renewed interest in human-powered reporting

Simon Galperin   Philanthropy stops investing in corporate media

Ariel Zirulnick   Journalism doubles down on user needs

Cindy Royal   Yes, journalists should learn to code, but…

Ryan Kellett   Airline-like loyalty programs try to tie down news readers

Kerri Hoffman   Podcasting goes local

Michael W. Wagner   The backlash against pro-democracy reporting is coming

Jonas Kaiser   Rejecting the “free speech” frame

Alan Henry   A reckoning with why trust in news is so low

Joni Deutsch   Podcast collaboration — not competition — breeds excellence

Khushbu Shah   Global reporting will suffer

Andrew Donohue   We’ll find out whether journalism can, indeed, save democracy

Bill Adair   The year of the fact-check (no, really!)

Kavya Sukumar   Belling the cat: The rise of independent fact-checking at scale

Jakob Moll   Journalism startups will think beyond English

Emily Nonko   Incarcerated reporters get more bylines

Christoph Mergerson   The rot at the core of the news business

Laxmi Parthasarathy   Unlocking the silent demand for international journalism

Molly de Aguiar and Mandy Van Deven   Narrative change trend brings new money to journalism

Victor Pickard   The year journalism and capitalism finally divorce

Valérie Bélair-Gagnon   Well-being will become a core tenet of journalism

J. Siguru Wahutu   American journalism reckons with its colonialist tendencies

Sue Robinson   Engagement journalism will have to confront a tougher reality

Priyanjana Bengani   Partisan local news networks will collaborate

Alexandra Svokos   Working harder to reach audiences where they are

Mael Vallejo   More threats to press freedom across the Americas

Snigdha Sur   Newsrooms get nimble in a recession

Sam Gregory   Synthetic media forces us to understand how media gets made

Megan Lucero and Shirish Kulkarni   The future of journalism is not you

Dannagal G. Young   Stop rewarding elite performances of identity threat

Bill Grueskin   Local news will come to rely on AI

Christina Shih   Shared values move from nice-to-haves to essentials

Johannes Klingebiel   The innovation team, R.I.P.

Walter Frick   Journalists wake up to the power of prediction markets

S. Mitra Kalita   “Everything sucks. Good luck to you.”

Peter Bale   Rising costs force more digital innovation

Felicitas Carrique and Becca Aaronson   News product goes from trend to standard

Josh Schwartz   The AI spammers are coming

Janelle Salanga   Journalists work from a place of harm reduction

Nicholas Thompson   The year AI actually changes the media business

Basile Simon   Towards supporting criminal accountability

Danielle K. Brown and Kathleen Searles   DEI efforts must consider mental health and online abuse

Andrew Losowsky   Journalism realizes the replacement for Twitter is not a new Twitter

Amethyst J. Davis   The slight of the great contraction

Eric Holthaus   As social media fragments, marginalized voices gain more power

Matt Rasnic   More newsroom workers turn to organized labor

Dominic-Madori Davis   Everyone finally realizes the need for diverse voices in tech reporting

Kirstin McCudden   We’ll codify protection of journalism and newsgathering

Surya Mattu   Data journalists learn from photojournalists

Joanne McNeil   Facebook and the media kiss and make up

Shanté Cosme   The answer to “quiet quitting” is radical empathy

Elite Truong   In platform collapse, an opportunity for community

Jim VandeHei   There is no “peak newsletter”

Alex Perry   New paths to transparency without Twitter

Rachel Glickhouse   Humanizing newsrooms will be a badge of honor

Don Day   The news about the news is bad. I’m optimistic.

Parker Molloy   We’ll reach new heights of moral panic

Jenna Weiss-Berman   The economic downturn benefits the podcasting industry. (No, really!)

Martina Efeyini   Talk to Gen Z. They’re the experts of Gen Z.

David Cohn   AI made this prediction

Al Lucca   Digital news design gets interesting again

Cory Bergman   The AI content flood

Karina Montoya   More reporters on the antitrust beat

Jaden Amos   TikTok personality journalists continue to rise

Sue Cross   Thinking and acting collectively to save the news

Richard Tofel   The press might get better at vetting presidential candidates

Anika Anand   Independent news businesses lead the way on healthy work cultures

Laura E. Davis   The year we embrace the robots — and ourselves

Anna Nirmala   News organizations get new structures

Zizi Papacharissi   Platforms are over

Jennifer Choi and Jonathan Jackson   Funders finally bet on next-generation news entrepreneurs

Jesse Holcomb   Buffeted, whipped, bullied, pulled

Brian Moritz   Rebuilding the news bundle

Nicholas Diakopoulos   Journalists productively harness generative AI tools

Peter Sterne   AI enters the newsroom

Alexandra Borchardt   The year of the climate journalism strategy

Ryan Gantz   “I’m sorry, but I’m a large language model”

Mario García   More newsrooms go mobile-first

Sumi Aggarwal   Smart newsrooms will prioritize board development

Julia Angwin   Democracies will get serious about saving journalism

Sarah Alvarez   Dream bigger or lose out

Esther Kezia Thorpe   Subscription pressures force product innovation

Mauricio Cabrera   It’s no longer about audiences, it’s about communities

Francesco Zaffarano   There is no end of “social media”

Tre'vell Anderson   Continued culpability in anti-trans campaigns

Sam Guzik   AI will start fact-checking. We may not like the results.

Paul Cheung   More news organizations will realize they are in the business of impact, not eyeballs

Brian Stelter   Finding new ways to reach news avoiders

John Davidow   A year of intergenerational learning

Jennifer Brandel   AI couldn’t care less. Journalists will care more. 

Upasna Gautam   Technology that performs at the speed of news

Eric Nuzum   A focus on people instead of power

Emma Carew Grovum   The year to resist forgetting about diversity

Kaitlin C. Miller   Harassment in journalism won’t get better, but we’ll talk about it more openly

Gordon Crovitz   The year advertisers stop funding misinformation

Dana Lacey   Tech will screw publishers over

Lisa Heyamoto   The independent news industry gets a roadmap to sustainability

Juleyka Lantigua   Newsrooms recognize women of color as the canaries in the coal mine

Moreno Cruz Osório   Brazilian journalism turns wounds into action

Alex Sujong Laughlin   Credit where it’s due

Doris Truong   Workers demand to be paid what the job is worth

Susan Chira   Equipping local journalism

Anthony Nadler   Confronting media gerrymandering

Wilson Liévano   Diaspora journalism takes the next step

Joe Amditis   AI throws a lifeline to local publishers

Masuma Ahuja   Journalism starts working for and with its communities

Gina Chua   The traditional story structure gets deconstructed

Stefanie Murray   The year U.S. media stops screwing around and becomes pro-democracy

Anita Varma   Journalism prioritizes the basic need for survival

Barbara Raab   More journalism funders will take more risks

Daniel Trielli   Trust in news will continue to fall. Just look at Brazil.

Larry Ryckman   We’ll work together with our competitors

Michael Schudson   Journalism gets more and more difficult

Ayala Panievsky   It’s time for PR for journalism

Errin Haines   Journalists on the campaign trail mend trust with the public

Elizabeth Bramson-Boudreau   More of the same

Julia Beizer   News fatigue shows us a clear path forward

Jacob L. Nelson   Despite it all, people will still want to be journalists

Burt Herman   The year AI truly arrives — and with it the reckoning

Jody Brannon   We’ll embrace policy remedies

Pia Frey   Publishers start polling their users at scale

Jim Friedlich   Local journalism steps up to the challenge of civic coverage

Nikki Usher   This is the year of the RSS reader. (Really!)

Cassandra Etienne   Local news fellowships will help fight newsroom inequities

Sue Schardt   Toward a new poetics of journalism

Sarah Marshall   A web channel strategy won’t be enough

A.J. Bauer   Covering the right wrong

Sarah Stonbely   Growth in public funding for news and information at the state and local levels

Amy Schmitz Weiss   Journalism education faces a crossroads

Jessica Clark   Open discourse retrenches

Delano Massey   The industry shakes its imposter syndrome

Tim Carmody   Newsletter writers need a new ethics

Kathy Lu   We need emotionally agile newsroom leaders

Hillary Frey   Death to the labor-intensive memo for prospective hires

Eric Thurm   Journalists think of themselves as workers

Gabe Schneider   Well-funded journalism leaders stop making disparate pay