Rebuild Local News and CUNY Center for Community Media Team Up to Expand Government Advertising in Local News

The Rebuild Local News and the Center for Community Media (CCM) announced today a new effort to refine and replicate the model pioneered by CCM in New York City, pushing state and local governments around the country to put more of their advertising budgets towards local news.

The two groups will work together to determine best practices – based on the NYC experience and others around the world – to develop model proposals. They will work with leaders of both parties in state and local governments that want to implement this approach.

“The government is already spending this advertising money on media,” said Steve Waldman, President of Rebuild Local News and co-founder of Report for America. “We’re just saying that instead of it going to social media and national publications, more could go to local news.”

“New York City is the first in the country to have dedicated 50 millions of available public funds toward community media. This cash infusion can be tremendously successful in other cities and states while still protecting editorial independence,” said Darlie Gervais, CCM’s Advertising Boost Initiative Manager.

CCM’s Advertising Boost Initiative (ABI) is now in its fourth year and has continued to work closely with community media outlets to improve the relationship between the advertising agencies and local media, raise the skillsets of these outlets, and advocate to increase the number and amount of advertising funds going to local media. ABI is working now with the new Mayor’s Office of Ethnic and Community Media to assist more community news outlets to be ready to receive city advertising.

The idea is already catching on in other parts of the country. In Chicago, the outgoing Mayor, Lori Lightfoot, had agreed to a similar effort and the mayor-elect has indicated his support. A bill pushing a similar approach has passed out of committee in the Connecticut legislature. The idea was also proposed for the federal government in the 2011 Federal Communications Commission report on the “information needs of communities.”

Rebuild Local News will soon produce a kit enabling state and local governments to design such programs in a way that is First Amendment friendly.  

CCM will be supporting the efforts through a contract with Rebuild Local News. Rebuild Local News will be hiring a full-time staffer to drive the replication efforts. To apply, click here.