Corporation for Public Broadcasting announces major initiative to promote local journalism, credits Aspen Institute

March 25, 2010

In an effort to strengthen the information health of America’s communities, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting announced it will fund seven regional journalism centers across the United States. CPB President and CEO Patricia Harrison, speaking at the Newseum on March 25, detailed a $10.5 million investment in a series of Local Journalism Centers (LJCs) that will promote original, collaborative reporting on issues of local concern. In her remarks, Harrison noted that the idea for LJCs arose during the Aspen Institute Roundtable on Public Service Media, a series of conferences convened by the Aspen Institute Communications and Society Program in partnership with CPB beginning in 2009.

“This idea came out of meetings that we held over a period of a couple of years at the Aspen Institute,” Harrison said, adding “and sometimes in Washington you have a lot of talk and nothing at the end of the talk, well, the LJCs…this is a dynamic new approach”. Harrison said the Local Journalism Centers would aim to become self-sustaining and serve as models for others to follow in the production and delivery of locally relevant journalism.

CPB’s Local Journalism Initiative fulfills the second recommendation of the Knight Commission on the Information Needs of Communities in a Democracy, which called for public service media to be “more local, more inclusive, and more interactive” by spearheading local investigative reporting, collaboration and digital innovation.

Other CPB leaders have acknowledged the Aspen Institute conferences as a catalyst for new thinking and the development of new initiatives. Last year, Ernest Wilson III, Chairman of the CPB, spoke of the need for “more focus on local-level media” and described the Aspen Institute Roundtables on Public Service Media as “the most frank and honest and open discussions…about the future of public broadcasting” in his time on the CPB board. Read the CPB announcement on the new Local Journalism Initiative or watch the video below.

The Communications and Society Program addresses the societal impact of communications and information technologies, and provides a multi-disciplinary venue for considered judgment on communications policy issues. Learn more about our work.

The Aspen Institute mission is twofold: to foster values-based leadership, encouraging individuals to reflect on the ideals and ideas that define a good society, and to provide a neutral and balanced venue for discussing and acting on critical issues. The Aspen Institute does this primarily in four ways: seminars, young-leader fellowships around the globe, policy programs, and public conferences and events. The Institute is based in Washington, DC; Aspen, Colorado; and on the Wye River on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. It also has an international network of partners.

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