The research links local news and community public health

Die Forschung verknüpft lokale Nachrichten und die öffentliche Gesundheit von Gemeinden

Recognition: Oregon Local News and Information Ecosystem Assessment 2022

A new report from the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication’s Agora Journalism Center found that Oregonians are unequally served by local news media and that some communities have few local news outlets. The report also describes how journalists and civil society leaders are deeply concerned about the state’s ability to meet its challenges at a time when the number of news outlets is shrinking, news audiences are shrinking and misinformation is on the rise.

The 2022 Assessing Oregon’s Local News and Information Ecosystem report was co-authored by Agora Journalism Center Research Director Regina Lawrence and Director Andrew DeVigal, and two graduate students from the UO School of Journalism and Communication.

The research is the first attempt to comprehensively count the number of established and emerging news agencies in Oregon and to assess the state’s local news and information ecosystem. It includes an interactive map of news outlets across the state that regularly publish original local news.

It also includes a comprehensive review of research demonstrating the importance of local news to the health of community citizens; Findings from interviews with over two dozen Oregon journalists, experts and leaders; and recommendations for strengthening our local news ecosystem.

“At a time when Oregon, like so many states across the country, faces critical challenges, it is important to recognize the irreplaceable role of local news in our state’s civic health. The decline in local news production in Oregon reflects national trends, but Oregon can learn from initiatives being attempted in other states and lead the way in reversing the decline,” Lawrence said.

The authors say the report’s findings raise concerns about Oregon’s news and information infrastructure, as research shows areas without local news have lower civic engagement, higher rates of polarization and corruption, and reduced sense of community.

“Evidence is mounting that the civic health of communities is inextricably linked to the future of local news. Our analysis represents a step in assessing the health of the Oregon local news and civic information ecosystem. We are committed to working with others who care about strengthening Oregon residents’ access to trusted news and information, based on the recommendations that we outline in the report,” DeVigal said.

The report provides examples of how many of Oregon’s legacy news organizations are finding ways to adapt, innovate, and grow despite the increasingly challenging environment. It also highlights innovations happening across the country to encourage closer collaboration between newsrooms, to leverage limited resources, guidance and tools from journalistic support organizations, and efforts in some states to allocate public funding to support local news.

When local newspapers close, struggling communities are hit hardest

More information:

Provided by the University of Oregon

Citation: Research links Local News, Civic Health of Communities (2022, October 21), retrieved October 21, 2022 from

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