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IPI global report on local media

Local media key in fight against misinformation

Local news media are emerging as the key challenge for a sustainable global news and information system. The relationship of trust that local media build with their community makes them central to the fight against misinformation and disinformation. Donors and the media support community need to recognize that the future is local.

The International Press Institute (IPI) has made a global study of the importance of local news. “Effectively leveraged, local news can help rebuild a society’s broader confidence in news media.”

But resources are needed, the report concludes, stressing the need to create a global network for local media. Such a network would enable local news media to be better prepared to take on the challenges and support each other; understand and learn from success and failure of others; share best practice on combating misinformation; and gain access to expertise, mentoring, community support.


“Donors and the media support community need to recognize that (particularly in the developing countries and regions) the future is local.”

“And they need support now to secure their basic news operations, rather than for reporting projects to suit donor priorities.”

“Local news media: we know it’s being disrupted. But around the world, journalists, editors and media-builders are leaping off that disruption into the future. It’s a future where a more engaged, more service-oriented, journalism is building a local news media that does the job its community wants of it – perhaps better than the capital-intensive mass media of the 20th century.”


The report says local news media’s best chance of success is to embed a vision and sense of mission that matches audience/community needs with an appropriate journalism focus.

“They need to be enabled for experimentation in products and business models. We need to level up the access that news media has globally to the information, training, network support and funding essential to building sustainable local media. “

Among recommendations:

– Support local media leaders and entrepreneurs to know and understand their audience and design news media products that serve their needs, and to find ways to involve them in their journalism.

– Help local news media find ways to build trust and support in their communities, including greater transparency, explaining their mission and values; their challenges and opportunities; and how they operate and why the community should support them.

– Source or create an executive facilitator/solutions lab to bring together local news media leaders in a focused program to solve particular (perhaps common) problems, or to work on a challenge, including audience engagement and revenue strategies available to all local media leaders in need, but with a focus Africa and Asia.

– Work with advanced digital transition organizations and programs globally (particularly in the U.S.) to explore collaborations that sees their programs adapted, extended or replicated to where they are needed.

– Create opportunities for local news media, particularly in Asia, Africa and the Middle East, to develop the skills and knowledge needed to build sustainable news media, including bootcamps, virtual training, summits and labs with a focus on audience engagement, product design and revenue strategies.

– Create a fund to support local media with external funding for local news media with a focus on Africa and Asia: ▪ To fund experimentation and innovation; ▪ To support training and networking opportunities; ▪ To support the basic news organizations which are unable to be funded (in full or part) by their communities; and ▪ To address a specific challenge and/or to provide seed money for new products or other initiatives.

– Create networking and sharing opportunities across continents, including frameworks that help local media tell their story to others and collect best practices in an accessible format. Encourage confidence to share lessons from success and failure.

– Link fact-checking experts with local media to build the essential capacity to fight misinformation and disinformation.


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