Local Media Reform

Type of Activity: Project
Grantee: Common Cause
Amount: Updated to $275,000 in 2021 — originally approved as $125,000 in 2020

What is Common Cause?

Common Cause is a nonpartisan, grassroots organization dedicated to upholding the core values of American democracy. They work to create an open, honest, and accountable government that serves the public interest; promote equal rights, opportunity, and representation for all; and empower all people to make their voices heard in the political process.

Why do we think this project is important?

Driven by the conviction that nothing is more important to a functioning democracy than an informed and engaged public, Common Cause raised awareness about the decline in resources for news and media organizations, and developed long-term solutions to the crisis in local news. The decline of independent, local newspapers and news stations has resulted in communities lacking adequate sources of local news and information, which has a significant negative impact on the quality of our civic dialogue and democracy.

To address this, Common Cause advocated for increased government funding of local media to ensure journalists could continue to provide critical news and information, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Funding  supported public and community media of all kinds, newsrooms and reporting jobs at local commercial and nonprofit news outlets, and  investments to address the civic-information needs of communities.

Common Cause also worked to prevent ongoing media consolidation by opposing media mergers and advocating against pro-consolidation policies at the federal level. To further strengthen local media, Common Cause advanced policies and built coalitions at the state level.

How is Democracy Fund Voice supporting Common Cause?

In 2020, Democracy Fund Voice approved a grant of $125,000 to Common Cause. In 2021 an amendment was approved to increase the amount of the grant by $150,000, for a total of $275,000.