New Mexico Local News Fund summit examines challenges facing journalism
The New Mexico Local News Fund hosted its first summit this weekend discussing the importance of local journalism and the challenges it faces. The News Fund was founded to support newsrooms across the state. It receives funding from multiple organizations, including the Knight Foundation.
Knight is investing $150 million in the Press Forward initiative, a national half billion dollar effort to support local news. Knight’s Director of Sustainability Initiatives for Journalism, Duc Luu, told summit attendees Press Forward has a five-year limit, so bringing in local partners is key in keeping these efforts going.
“Unless we find someone like Jeff Bezos or some other rich person to decide to put a couple 100 million dollars into this thing, the rest of the money is going to be raised from local community foundations, from local funders, from high-net-worth individuals,” said Luu.
Funding for newsrooms has declined significantly over time, causing a loss in news employees across all mediums. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, newsroom employment has decreased by more than 70% over the past 15 years.
“And so the stakes of this meeting are incredibly high in terms of actually getting to the goal of being able to get enough dollars into the ecosystem to make a big impact,” said Luu.
About 100 people attended the daylong summit and heard sessions on how philanthropy and public policy can support local news, the future of newspapers, and meeting the needs of underserved communities.
The New Mexico Local News Fund hopes to hold more summits in the future and has recordings from the summit on its website.
KUNM has hosted a fellow and an intern through the New Mexico Local News Fund program, including Mia Casas, who is now a student employee of the station.