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Community Forum: Where Will We Get The News?

by The Berks Alliance

Community Forum: Where Will We Get The News?

In recent years, it has become increasingly difficult for people to find reliable information.  Nationally since 2019 over 360 local newspapers have ceased operating.  The United States has been losing two newspapers a week.  A fifth of the country’s population — 70 million people — now live in an area with no local news organizations, or one at risk, with only one local news outlet and very limited access to critical news and information.

Increasingly we have come to rely on other sources of information, such as Facebook, Twitter or Tik-Tok.  And this shift has led to a massive influx of disinformation.  These two factors can and have had a dramatic impact on our communities, our government and our shared sense of community.

Berks County has not been immune to the national spread of “news desert” conditions. The decline of local reporting is evident and openly discussed, while access to trustworthy information has been identified time and again as a growing area of deficiency in Reading and Berks.  In turn this has adversely affected our residents’ ability to understand what is happening in their community and the lack of attentive journalistic coverage has stifled transparency and accountability at all levels.

So where will we get the news?

That is a question we hear all too frequently.

Spotlight PA is currently assessing community needs in Berks County and studying feasibility for a local news bureau through conducting listening sessions and research, exploring content distribution methods, and developing the local bureau strategy with the input and direction of local voices. Thanks to a planning grant from Berks County Community Foundation, Spotlight PA will be working throughout the community to build a potential plan for revitalizing local news and investigative journalism in Berks County. Heather Adams of Berks Community Television is leading the planning process over the next year.

Join us for an informative discussion featuring:

Spotlight PA is an independent, non-partisan news source, dedicated to high-quality investigative and public-service journalism.  It was founded to address the crisis in journalism and the disappearance of local media, which has affected the public’s access to trusted, factual and reliable news.  Originally focused on state government, Spotlight PA has recently launched programs in regions of Pennsylvania offering a reliable source of local news.

When: Sep 21, 2023 11:30 AM EST

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