State of Local News Project

Project: Research project

Project Details


America’s local news organizations, which provide essential information to citizens in our selfgoverned democracy, are in crisis. The business model that has supported this vital journalism for two centuries has been massively disrupted. This disruption has had an outsize impact on local news providers. A collapse of advertising revenue has led to cuts which further hinder these institutions’ ability to provide relevant, critical information about local government, civic institutions, businesses, schools and residents. At the same time, a poll by the Pew Research Center in May showed the vast majority of Americans don’t trust information from local news organizations. This erosion of trust is exacerbating the already severe economic disruption hitting local news outlets, and points to the urgent need for these organizations to find new ways to engage audiences and improve credibility. Northwestern University – one of the few colleges in America with top-ranked journalism, marketing, engineering and entrepreneurship programs -- is uniquely positioned to spur the development of new approaches to local news. The university stands ready to deploy its sophisticated audience research center, its Knight Lab for digital innovation, its computer science engineers and students to work directly on this challenge with local news providers. Working together, these Northwestern experts and students can help discover and create new ways to financially bolster news organizations and improve audience engagement.
Effective start/end date12/1/2211/30/24


  • Lilly Endowment Inc. (Grant No. 2022 1343)


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