Join Common Cause Ohio, Policy Matters Ohio and media advocacy organization, Free Press, for a presentation and conversation about public policy solutions to Ohio’s local news crisis. The webinar will take place on Thursday, Sept. 26, 1:30 to 3 p.m.
Zach Schiller and Caitlin Johnson of Policy Matters Ohio will share recommendations from the organization’s recent report on the state of local news in Ohio, and discuss the likely impact of the planned merger of Gannett and GateHouse. Mike Rispoli and Madeleine Bair of Free Press’s News Voices program, will share lessons learned from the organization’s grassroots campaign to fund civic news and information in New Jersey.
Facing rounds of media mergers and positioned in the shadow of the New York and Philadelphia media markets, New Jersey has long been seen as a “news desert,” a state whose residents have witnessed the whittling away of accountability and public-interest journalism serving local communities. So in 2015 the media advocacy organization, Free Press, began convening residents, community leaders, and journalists to talk about the news they want to see. What began as a series of public forums evolved into a grassroots campaign for the Civic Info Bill – groundbreaking legislation to invest public funding into innovative local news and civic information projects to serve communities throughout the state. The bill received bipartisan support and was signed into law by Governor Murphy last year.
Studies have linked newspaper closures and cutbacks to increased municipal debt, decreased voter participation, and even more pollution. In the wake of the closure of the Youngstown Vindicator and with new rounds of media mergers on the horizon, Ohio communities are bracing for even greater cuts to local news. How can Ohioans take action to protect local news? What lessons can we take from New Jersey’s campaign to invest in local news?