Wednesday, June 24
10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. EDT
Teresa Gorman, Senior Program Associate for Local News, Democracy Fund
Laxmi Parthasarathy, Chief Operating Officer, Global Press
James Smart, Journalist and Founder, K-Youth Media
Samlanchith Chanthavong, Associate Director of Global Programs, National Endowment for Democracy
As the world continues to grapple with the coronavirus pandemic, reliable local news has proven itself an essential service. Audiences in the grips of crisis turn to their local media–public interest news outlets that cover communities, towns, and villages–for safety recommendations, government ordinances, and other critical updates. But news media were already in a crisis of their own, perhaps none more so than local news.
For years, local outlets have battled everything from declining ad revenue and limited staffing to fierce competition and government crackdowns, forcing thousands to limit or suspend their operations. This reality is most extreme in developing countries, where local news outlets must contend with fragile media markets and weak institutions.
These challenges are inevitably heightened in times of crisis, even as their roles are that much more critical. During a crisis, local news outlets often experience greater scrutiny from government officials, face constraints in their ability to disseminate reliable, trustworthy information, and struggle to sustain their operations while also ensuring the safety of their reporters. How are media outlets around the world striving to overcome these challenges, and how can we act to support them without sacrificing their independence or local relevance?