In this Ten Across virtual panel discussion a distinguished panel of editors and journalists from several independent news outlets across the Ten Across corridor talk about the future of nonprofit journalism, examples of its impact in reporting critical issues impacting the region, and its importance to our sometimes fragile democracy.
The most pressing issues of our time are playing out along the I-10 corridor: drought, sea level rise, immigration, energy transition, climate change, and many would argue the future of democracy itself. While there is more information available on these topics than ever before, trust in the media that provides it is at an all time low.
Since 2005, over 2000 newspapers have closed in the United States. In addition to disruption caused by the advent of the Internet and social media, private equity firms have bought up hundreds of local newspapers. Fortunately, there has been a growing resurgence of independent journalism. According to Pew Research, “nonprofit reporters alone (whether full time or less than full time) now constitute 20% of the statehouse corps, up from 6% in 2014.”
The overall loss is consequential for communities and puts the health of American democracy at risk. Not only do stories of government accountability go unreported, but an essential public forum for sharing culture and bringing people together evaporates. Such a rapid shift brings profound questions: How do the most consequential subjects get covered at a local level? How does data and fact-based reporting reach community members? What happens when only mainstream national outlets cover local stories?
In the Ten Across region, a group of enterprising journalists and entrepreneurs are stepping up to answer these questions with new models of nonprofit journalism. Independent news outlets in this region are making a great impact and setting a new standard for effectively and honestly reporting critical issues important to the future of our country as a whole.
Susan Goldberg, Vice Dean + Professor of Practice, ASU’s College of Global Futures and Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication; former Editor and Chief of National Geographic