A Guide to Assessing Your Local News Ecosystem

A step-by-step toolkit to help you gather the information you need to fund local news and information in your community.

Credit: Claire Bangser/Roots and Wings Creative

Local news is in crisis. The internet forever changed the business model for media, and the impact on local news — and by extension our democracy — has been startling. Since 2004, more than 1,300 American communities have lost local newspaper coverage. This loss of local news has lead to lower civic participation, lower voter turnout in elections, fewer people running for local office, and less oversight of those in power.

At Democracy Fund, we believe philanthropy has a key role in supporting healthy local news and information. Not by parachuting in to help “save” local news… but by listening, and learning how to support an entire local ecosystem.

No matter how big or small your organization, you have a role to play in making the ecosystem stronger.

This guide is designed to introduce some of the ideas and options and help you find a path to understanding your own community’s news and information ecosystem.

Get Started

Section 1

What Is A News Ecosystem

Section 2

Start Your Research

Section 3

Take A Deep Dive Into The Media Landscape

Section 4

Act On What You’ve Learned

Section 5

Right-Size Your Assessment


Click Here To Download The Full Guide

Case Studies & Resources

Case Study

Finding a Path with Partners: The Importance of Community

Case Study

Launching A News Ecosystem Hub: Lessons From New Mexico

Case Study

From Collaborations to Ecosystem Building: What a News Ecosystem Hub Takes

Case Study

COVID-19 – Listening from Afar



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