For local media in 2020, few missions are more important than conveying the value of local news as a vital public service.

With examples such as the examination of criminal justice system failures in communities across Alaska by the Anchorage Daily News, local journalists are unearthing incredibly powerful information that would otherwise go unreported.

But the importance of local news is not immediately apparent to those served. A Pew Research study found 71 percent of Americans think their local news outlets are doing well financially, and just 14 percent contribute through donations or subscriptions. Yet consumer revenue is a crucial pillar in the sustainability of local journalism.

Right now, local accountability, accuracy, and transparency are at risk of disappearing. As part of the $15 million Support Local News campaign, a partnership with Local Media Association, Local Media Consortium and Google News Initiative, we want to surface and uplift the tremendous reporting at local media organizations. By showcasing the good work being done in local newsrooms, more individuals will choose to financially support these endeavors and the free press.

Support Local News Week, July 27-Aug. 2, will highlight creative ways local media businesses are using their own content, reporting, and staff testimonials to garner subscriptions, donations, and contributions through the #SupportLocalNews campaign.

LMA and LMC are inviting all local media organizations to participate and will award the most compelling cases — that explain why readers should support your organization — with two $5,000 stipends from the Fund for Local Journalism, to be used for local investigative reporting projects that serve to inform the public on important community issues.

The goal is to encourage and reward local media organizations that make the strongest case possible for why their audience should pay for local news. Did your reporting influence leaders’ decisions or uncover vital facts? Did your community engage with your campaign in a positive way including through sharing, contributions, or subscriptions? Contest entries should show examples of how local journalism has impacted the community as well as creative and effective ways of sharing the sentiment of Support Local News with their communities.

More details about #SupportLocalNews Week and the contest:

How to participate

  • Use the Support Local News asset library and marketing materials as a starting point to create a series of messages that will be shared with the public (social media, newsletter, on-site digital ads).
  • Leading up to the week of July 27-Aug. 2, catalog the most impactful journalism published by your newsroom so far in 2020. Involve newsroom staff to understand and document what went into the reporting. (Here’s a template to get started.)
  • Share details of these stories with calls to action (subscribe, donate, become a member) (as well as the hashtag #SupportLocalNews on social media) before and during the week of July 27-Aug 2.
  • Submit your campaign to LMA and LMC to be considered as a recipient of a $5,000 stipend for investigative reporting and solutions journalism. Winners will present the strongest case for why the community should support local journalism. Recipients will be determined and notified by the end of August.

Resource: Support Local News campaign marketing FAQ

Here are some examples of how local journalists and newsrooms are sharing their good work. (Click each image to see more.)