Understanding Local Journalism: An overview

Find out about the latest research on local news from American, Canadian and British scholars. The public is welcome to attend this Saturday morning event.


Professor in journalism, University of Oregon; Fellow of the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia University; Honorary research fellow, Cardiff University, School of Journalism, Media and Culture Studies


Associate dean of Innovation, Research/Creative Activity and Graduate Studies, Ohio University; Lead researcher for The Media Deserts Project


Associate professor, Ryerson University School of Journalism; Lead investigator for the Local News Research Project


Director of the Centre for Media Studies, Université Laval; Principal researcher for Local and Regional News in Quebec: Case Study and Mapping

Does Local News Matter? Tales From the Trenches

What impact does local news have on communities? And what happens when local news organizations scale back or close? Panelists will discuss their first-hand experiences. The public is welcome to attend this Saturday morning event.



Councillor, City of Guelph

Greater than the Sum of its Parts: Strategies for Strengthening Local News Ecosystems — Lunch talk with Josh Stearns

Where there once was a thriving news industry, dominated locally by big newspapers and TV stations, there are now struggling news ecosystems made up of small pieces loosely joined. As such, the health of a news ecosystem used to be rooted in the stability of a few big newsrooms, but today healthy news ecosystems are more diverse and dynamic. If we are to support a vibrant and healthy news ecosystem we have to attend not only to the health of individual newsrooms but also the strength of the connections between them. Josh Stearns will present conceptual framework for understanding news ecosystem and offer concrete strategies for strengthening the health and sustainability of local news and information.

Josh Stearns is associate director of the Democracy Fund’s Public Square Program, an initiative that supports innovation in local media and other sectors with a view to helping people understand and participate in the democratic process. Stearns is also co-curator of The Local Fix, a weekly examination of key debates in journalism sustainability and community engagement through the lens of local news.

A journalist, community builder, and civic strategist, Josh joined the Democracy Fund from the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, where he served as the Director of Journalism and Sustainability and worked to support and expand community-driven local news. Josh also helped found the Local News Lab which invests in creative experiments in revenue and community engagement in local news.