Media Moves

Americans want local news but are unwilling to pay for it

November 18, 2019

Posted by Mariam Ahmed

According to CNN Business, the local news industry is undergoing a market failure. This is because even though Americans tend to view local news as an asset, many of them are unwilling to pay for it, a report suggests.

The report by the Knight Foundation and Gallup says, “Americans take pride in their local newspapers.” This statement was supported by a whopping statistical find in which 8 percent of the respondents said that everyone should have access to local news.

However, producing news can be expensive as “just one in five Americans have supported local news in the past year by subscribing to, donating to or purchasing a membership to a local news organization,” the researchers found.

“It’s time to ask searching questions of ourselves as a society about how much we value local news, and what we’re prepared to do to ensure its future,” Sam Gill, vice president for communities and impact and special adviser to the president at the Knight Foundation, said in a statement about the new report.

With print editions shutting down and digital subscriptions increasing, there should also be a healthy allocation of fund-raising campaigns and government subsidies towards supporting local news. However, an increasing distrust of the media, especially political media has led to another finding – Americans mostly oppose local news organizations receiving government funding with six in 10 opposed to federal (66%) or local (60%) government subsidies.”

“When people are told about the financial situation facing local newspapers or the ways in which local journalism supports a healthy democracy, they were significantly more likely to donate to a nonprofit organization that supports local journalism (54%) than were those who did not get such information (40%),” researchers wrote.

Conclusively, “raising awareness about the financial health of the local news industry” could have practical benefits.


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