National Newspaper Week: America needs journalists — and America’s journalists need your support
In the last two years of fighting a global pandemic, historic protests for racial equality, and a presidential election, America needs journalists to bring them critical reporting.
The events of the last year have led to significant increases in traffic to news publisher websites, as Americans look to local journalists to inform them about the news and events in their communities. People trust and appreciate their local news publishers. But publishers are also losing tremendous advertising revenue because of the pandemic.
And at a time when the public wants and needs quality news and information more than ever, the major tech platforms still refuse to compensate most news publishers, even while they pay creators for the ability to distribute music and lots of other kinds of content. Combined, these challenges have left numerous publishers across the country in danger of shuttering, with even more disappearing before the next crisis.
As we celebrate National Newspaper Week this year, we are reminded that without dedicated, hardworking journalists, many of the biggest stories of the past decade – at the global, national and local levels – would have gone untold.
Local journalists are the reason we have the information we need to make decisions about our lives and our leaders. Without their passionate dedication to newsgathering and superb storytelling, we would understand so little of the world around us.
America needs journalists more than ever. If we don’t act soon to support them, we risk losing something even more valuable than our daily newspaper – we risk losing our democracy. Journalists hold those in power accountable, and we need to support them now to ensure they can continue in this critical role, enshrined in the First Amendment. We need and trust our local journalists. Let’s not wait until it’s too late to show them our appreciation for everything they do.
David Chavern serves as president and CEO of the News Media Alliance. Chavern has built a career spanning 30 years in executive strategic and operational roles, and most recently completed a decade-long tenure at the United States Chamber of Commerce. This editorial originally appeared during the 2020 National Newspaper Week campaign.