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[VIRTUAL] Equity and Community in Local News: Lessons Learned in 2020

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On August 12, PEN America and the National Press Club Journalism Institute will co-host a discussion on lessons learned by local news outlets since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, the attendant economic implosion, and the nationwide protests following the murder of George Floyd. The context also includes November’s elections—with novel voting arrangements in many places amidst ongoing voter suppression efforts, community journalism will be vital to securing our democracy. The speakers will discuss how their organizations have adapted their reporting during this critical time with a focus on equity and inclusion, as well as elevating previously marginalized voices in storytelling, community, and local engagement.

The live Zoom session, which will take place on August 12 from 11:30 am–12:30 pm ET, and will include a Q&A session. Please register for the event here.


Long a building block of American democracy, local news outlets have never been more important—and straining under more stress—than in 2020. From providing indispensable public health updates during the coronavirus pandemic to holding governments and law enforcement accountable following the murder of George Floyd and subsequent nationwide protests, local news organizations are safeguarding the public’s ability to access fact-based, community-specific information. As the nation rebuilds this essential industry, whose decline (as detailed in PEN America’s report Losing the News) has been accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, innovation in equity-focused reporting and community engagement models will be key to meeting the critical information needs of citizens, especially in moments of crisis.


Featured speakers will include:


Jim Friedlich, executive director and CEO of the Lenfest Institute of Journalism