Rebuild Local News

by

Project Scope

  • Messaging Development
  • Design + Creative
  • Campaign Development + Activation

Overview

Local news has been collapsing in recent years, and the COVID-19 pandemic has greatly accelerated the challenges facing the industry. With news deserts growing and a handful of big companies owning what’s left of local news organizations, Americans are losing trusted, reliable news that serves their communities.  A healthy locally-owned and nonprofit news ecosystem means more civic engagement, less government waste,  greater ability to track diseases, and less toxic emissions. And during COVID-19, local news has played an essential role of keeping communities informed and safe.​ This news is worth protecting, so Mission Partners stepped in to help Democracy Fund launch what became known as the Rebuild Local News coalition. Rebuild Local News now represents 3,000+ locally-owned and nonprofit newsrooms and is comprised of organizations advocating for community journalism.

Strategy

  • Mission Partners led on key messaging, talking points, op-eds, media opportunities for the coalition, lobbyists, and allies to effectively communicate their efforts and influence policymakers.
  • Mission Partners supported on all aspects of managing the coalition, including facilitating meetings, communicating to members, and conducting research to inform policy ideas.
  • New relationships were fostered with allied organizations to create an upswell of support for locally-owned and nonprofit news.
  • Infographics, a website, and a toolkit for organizations to reach key members of Congress were developed to aid the coalition and lobbyists with communication.

Impact

  • The key messages and communications materials were used by lobbyists supporting the coalition to engage with influential members of Congress, leading to unprecedented levels of awareness and bipartisan support among U.S. senators for investing in locally-owned and nonprofit news. 
  • The messages and op-ed frames were instrumental in helping Rebuild Local News members advocate for their organizations.. 
  • The messages also helped to forge new relationships with key industries, such as public health, with an op-ed in support of the cause being authored by the CEO of Common Health Action in the Orlando Sentinel. The Association of State and Territorial Health Organizations also gave their stamp of approval for the coalition’s work.​
  • Support for locally-owned and nonprofit news continues to swell in Congress, with Sen. Cantwell releasing a report with recommended solutions and the Local Journalism Sustainability Act in the U.S. House has 78 cosponsors to date.

The Importance of Local News Infographic mock up