Local news and democracy

Research shows that the loss of local news is having an insidious effect on our democracy — contributing to polarization, decrease in voting, and government accountability.  Local news is an essential lever to a healthy democracy; it helps communities understand what’s at stake in local elections, equips them to get involved in the political process by voting, contacting officials and running for office, reduces political polarization, and holds public officials accountable.


Additional Research

"Ultimately, the stakes for local journalism are high. If the current bipartisan efforts to assist local news become defined along party lines and fail, future generations may not be able to depend on local news as we know it, and if our research is any indication, America’s political divides will continue to deepen as a result."
Joshua Darr, associate dean for Research & Strategic Initiatives in the Manship School of Mass Communication at Louisiana State University
"Nonprofit interventions in failing local commercial news markets may be an important safeguard for keeping public officials accountable."
Nikki Usher, associate professor of journalism in the College of Media at the University of Illinois
"Given the role local news publications have in driving citizen political engagement, in disseminating information during crisis events, and in sustaining and developing local identity, understanding the impacts of acquisition on local news output is crucial in identifying and drawing attention to unhealthy media environments."
Benjamin LeBrun, Kaitlyn Todd, and Andrew Piper, McGill University
"The health of a democracy depends in no small part on the vitality of an independent press. Studies across the world continue to demonstrate that access to a robust news system, free from institutional censorship or influence, plays an essential role in effective democracy."
The Knight Foundation and Gallup, American Views 2022: Part 1