At the Daily Herald, we take great pride in being the primary source for local journalism in our community. Our stories provide you with the information you need to make decisions, prompt change and learn more about your community.
Every day, the work we do makes a difference. We highlighted the impact some of our local journalism has made this year through the words of our readers captured in a six-minute video, which you can view on heraldnet.com/local-news-impact.
The locally focused stories featured in the video are prime examples of the news Americans hold in higher regard than national news, according to a recent poll from Gallup and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. That survey also found local news – compared with other sources of information – does the best job of keeping Americans informed, holding leaders accountable and amplifying stories in their communities.
Although local journalism is essential for healthy communities, competitive marketplaces, and a thriving democracy, not all communities in Washington have a trusted, local news source like the Daily Herald.
The League of Women Voters of Washington recently produced a 133-page report about how the crisis impacting local journalism is affecting communities — from a decline in civic engagement to higher government costs in places without local journalism.
The league’s new report shows Washington lost more than two dozen weeklies and three dailies since 2005, and overall newsroom staffing is down 67%. While at least one weekly paper still operates in every Washington county, local journalism continues to face big challenges. Those challenges pose a problem for democracy, according to the report, The Decline of Local News and Its Impact on Democracy, which you can read at https://www.lwvwa.org.
Margaret Sullivan, media columnist for the Washington Post, puts it bluntly, “The demise of local news poses the kind of danger to our democracy that should have alarm sirens screeching across the land.”
If you value the benefits The Daily Herald brings to our community, you should be concerned about how difficult it is to keep local newspapers viable. Consider how our community would stay connected and work together on solutions if the good causes highlighted in this Snohomish Gives section were not told through the Herald’s local journalism.
And consider this: Each dollar spent on local news brings hundreds in public benefits to communities, according to Democracy’s Detectives: The Economics of Investigative Journalism, a book by economist James T. Hamilton. That’s one of the reasons why communities are investing in local journalism across the country, including at the Herald.
To make it easy for individuals, businesses, organizations, and foundations to invest in trusted, local news, The Daily Herald has established three journalism funds that help us meet our community’s need for more reporting, including:
■ Investigative Journalism
■ Environmental and Climate Change Reporting
■ Education Project (K-12)
For each fund, we partner with a nonprofit fiscal sponsor that oversees how community dollars are used. Donations have ranged from $5 to $75,000 and come from residents throughout Snohomish County and beyond who value local journalism, like Bryce H. of Everett, who said, “Reliable local journalism is key to an informed community, and that’s exactly the type of community I want to be a part of, an informed one.”
Cindy T., of Snohomish, donated to our environmental and climate change reporting fund because, “Facts and climate matter, and I wanted to help in some small way.”
Anne G., of Edmonds, says, “I love seeing stories in the Herald about Snohomish County where I live. It is not enough to have national or regional news. We need local news done well.”
You can join Bryce, Cindy and Anne in making our community better by supporting one or more of our community-funded journalism initiatives. You can learn more — and invest in local journalism today — at heraldnet.com/local-news-impact.
If you already support our journalism funds – thank you! Your generosity makes all the difference. Please consider donating again because the need for independent, local news is ongoing.
Brenda Mann Harrison is the journalism development director for The Daily Herald. To learn more about the impact of local news and how you can join others in supporting community journalism, go to heraldnet.com/local-news-impact, send an email to email@example.com or call 425-339-3452.