The Role of Local Journalism

Defending the truth.  And our democracy.

The right to a free press is fundamental to our freedom. That’s why the Founders codified it in the First Amendment of our Constitution. Government can’t function properly without its citizens being informed and engaged.

The same is true for local government and the local press. Independent local journalism helps us fight for the things that matter in our communities. It informs us about important issues and helps us find common ground. It chronicles the positions of candidates, sheds light on ballot initiatives, and encourages voter turnout.

Local journalism acts as an essential watchdog, keeping our government, institutions and corporations accountable and transparent.

And it ignites action.

We need local journalism. Now more than ever.

Local journalism is the bedrock of our democracy. But newspapers everywhere are facing huge challenges. More than 2,000 have closed since 2004. That number is even more distressing when you consider that when local news coverage drops, civic engagement does too. People become apathetic. Fewer candidates run for office. Partisanship goes up. And voter turnout, along with split ticket voting, goes down.

"When local news coverage drops, civic engagement does too."
Source: Scientific American

Local journalism has the power to build community. It’s where we capture our history. Where we share stories about our people, culture, arts, sports teams, schools and businesses. And where we can all have a voice.

Local journalism enlightens us. Delights us. Inspires us. And unites us.

Learning how to tell the difference between fake news and real journalism is crucial for our democracy. Let us know how we can help.

We now live in an environment where it can be tough to separate reliable information from deliberately misleading or false stories. We’re bombarded with millions of sources of information everyday, from news websites to videos to social media platforms.

It’s up to consumers to decide which news sources are trustworthy and which are not. And increasingly, that’s not easy.

A core part of our nonprofit mission is to support media literacy and education efforts. To help parents, teachers, students — all of us, really — understand how journalism works, The Salt Lake Tribune has prepared a couple of resources for you to use.

·A downloadable PDF illustrating the reporting process.

download the pdf

·And a 2-minute video explaining how news is different from gossip and rumors.

Tribune reporters and editors stand ready to visit with school groups, college students, clubs, businesses, civic organizations and anyone interested in learning more about journalism. To schedule a newsroom tour or request a guest speaker for your next gathering, email Lauren Gustus, lgustus@sltrib.com.