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Can Local News Fix The Crisis In Democracy?

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Date and time
Wednesday, October 04, 2023
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Many people think that America is coming apart at the seams, for a variety of reasons. Most glaringly, polarization has split entire communities, dividing friends and families from each other so that prospects for the next election look grim. However, there might be some good news on the horizon. Literally. Recent research shows that one way to improve voter activity, decrease polarization and boost municipal bond rating is to inject community news into people’s lives. Local news, it would seem, acts as a binding agent for democracy.

Charles Sennott, founder and Editor of The GroundTruth Project discusses with a panel of journalists and media entrepreneurs from around the country how delivering local news can glue democracy back together.

Charles Sennott, founder and Editor of The GroundTruth Project, is an award-winning correspondent, best-selling author and editor with 30 years of experience in international, national and local journalism. A leading social entrepreneur in new media, Sennott launched the non-profit organization's new, local reporting initiative, Report for America in 2017. He is a graduate of Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism and was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University.
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Carol Wood is Business Innovation Director for the Colorado News Collaborative, which supports 180 media organizations in Colorado. Founder of Emerge Media Group, she provides fractional COO services, as well as monetization and sustainability consulting, to news organizations across the country. Carol’s passion to protect democracy and press freedom drives her work helping all types of media companies develop sustainable business practices, strategy, growth and sound operations.
“Bobbie” Roessner, founding editor of The New Bedford Light, is passionate about the power of public service journalism to inform and empower communities. Former managing of The Hartford Courant, where she helped lead the Courant newsroom to one Pulitzer Prize and three Pulitzer finalists. As executive editor of Hearst Connecticut Media Group, she oversaw an amalgam of five daily newspapers, more than a dozen weekly newspapers and an array of digital products. Roessner was a Knight Journalism Fellow at Stanford University and has twice been a Pulitzer juror. She currently serves on the board of the New England First Amendment Coalition, advocating for open government and press freedoms.
Tracie Powell headshot Transparent.png
Tracie Powell is a leader in philanthropic efforts to increase racial equity and diversity in news media; the Pivot Fund supports independent BIPOC community news. Powell was a Fall 2021 Shorenstein Center Research Fellow at Harvard Kennedy School, where she researched mechanisms for funding and capacity building for minority media outlets. Prior to her work with The Pivot Fund and Harvard, Powell was founding fund manager of the Racial Equity in Journalism (REJ) Fund at Borealis Philanthropy. Powell is also the founder of AllDigitocracy.org, which focuses on the media and its impact on diverse communities. She was a senior fellow with the Democracy Fund, where she worked on the Public Square Initiative that seeks to support informed dialogue through nonprofit journalism investments. Powell was a 2016 Knight Fellow at Stanford University and has written regularly for the Columbia Journalism Review. She is a graduate of Georgetown University Law Center and The University of Georgia’s Henry W. Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication.

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