Local news in the US and Europe is in crisis. Research in the US, UK, the Netherlands and elsewhere has revealed widespread 'news deserts' or 'dark spots', where citizens have little or no access to locally-produced, locally-relevant journalism - and where journalism struggles to hold power to account, with knock-on effects for democracy, transparency and governance.
But bright spots - some supported through philanthropic or innovation funds - are demonstrating new ways for diverse local media to take root and thrive. Whether it's through deeper engagement with audiences, membership schemes, live events, co-operative ownership, or innovation funds, many new ideas are beginning to come on stream.
We'll hear from four funders with direct expertise across this spectrum about how they view the future of the local news and information landscape. Why is local news in crisis and what is the nature of the crisis? Where do they see opportunities for and blockers to a genuine renaissance of local news and information ecosystems? Where are there promising experiments and innovations? What 'business models' for local media are emerging that also support its democratic role? And what could journalists, entrepreneurs, funders, investors, governments, and citizens, do to help?