The Local Media Consortium and Local Media Association have announced the launch of a major ad campaign, “Support Local News,” in partnership with the Google News Initiative. Backed by $15 million in funding from Google, the campaign will raise awareness of the need and importance of funding newsrooms through subscriptions, donations and advertising.
As communities across the nation grapple with the coronavirus pandemic and the injustice related to the death of George Floyd, local media has been on the front lines to inform its readers. While these major stories with local ramifications have led to an increase in people reading, watching and listening to the news, advertising revenue has declined dramatically. This trend has hit local news organizations particularly hard following Covid-19 since most faced financial stress well before the pandemic. These dynamics have put these vital community services at risk. According to Poynter, more than 30 local newsrooms have closed since the pandemic began. A Pew study finds the majority of consumers (71%) think their news media outlets are doing well financially. The Support Local News campaign will highlight this paradox and encourage consumers, businesses and advertisers to support local media.
“At Google we value the role of local news in keeping our societies informed and connected with their communities,” said Richard Gingras, Vice President, News, Google. “We have long partnered with the LMA and LMC to enable a strong future for local news. At this crucial time, when the demand for local journalism is especially great and advertising dollars have dwindled, we have joined with the LMA and LMC on this campaign in an effort to encourage everyone – readers, local businesses and advertisers big and small – to play a part in supporting local news.”
The Support Local News campaign will begin today and will run in print and digital formats for the next six weeks across most local newspapers, TV and radio stations and online-only news outlets in the U.S. and Canada. The campaign will direct people to visit the Support Local News website, where they can easily subscribe, advertise or donate — including an option to donate to a fund that supports local investigative reporting in newsrooms across North America or to further designate contributions for publishers of color to support their investigative work.
“At a time when communities need local media more than ever, we are launching this campaign to fuel long-term, sustainable revenue models for news,” said Fran Wills, CEO of LMC. “For years we have been encouraging the industry and our partners to spotlight the need for and value of local journalism. Thanks to this generous funding from Google, our campaign funnels much needed advertising dollars to publishers immediately while raising awareness of the role subscriptions, advertising and donations play in sustaining freedom of the press and reporting in our local communities.”
“This is a significant moment for the local media industry,” said Nancy Lane, CEO of LMA. “People may not understand why they need to support local news organizations with digital subscriptions, donations, memberships and advertising if applicable. This $15 million ad campaign will help us change the conversation. We appreciate Google’s support of local media with this campaign that intentionally includes a diverse mix of publishers, including smaller outlets and those serving underrepresented audiences. We ask other national advertisers to follow this example by running campaigns with local media organizations across North America.”
Local Media Association and the Local Media Consortium together represent more than 5,000 news outlets in the U.S. and Canada. The LMC delivers significant ROI to its members – 90 media companies comprising more than 4,000 outlets – by harnessing its purchasing power to negotiate large money-saving deals with digital business and technology partners. Recently, the LMC worked with the Brand Safety Institute and Cunningham Consulting to fast-track a local news advertising whitelist to unblock local media ad inventory with agencies and advertisers during the coronavirus pandemic.
LMA is focused on reinventing business models for news and works with more than 3,000 newspapers, TV stations, digital news sites, radio stations and research & development partners. In May, the association’s affiliate, Local Media Foundation, launched the COVID-19 Local News Fund program, which has already raised more than $1.4 million for independent and family-owned news organizations to increase their coverage of the crisis in communities all over the country.