Local news and its future

June 3-4, 2017

Local reporting builds community, holds power accountable and helps citizens make informed decisions. This conference is an opportunity to examine disruptions in local journalism, share groundbreaking research and discuss real-world responses to the dramatic changes that are reshaping the local news landscape.

Join us at the Ryerson School of Journalism in Toronto for this urgent and timely discussion.


Read the latest story about the conference here.


8:00–8:45 a.m. — Coffee and registration

8:45–9:00 a.m. — Welcome and opening remarks


9:00-10:30 a.m. — Understanding Local Journalism: An Overview
Hear from scholars Damian Radcliffe (University of Oregon/Cardiff University), Michelle Ferrier (Ohio University), April Lindgren (Ryerson University) and Colette Brin (Université Laval) about the latest local news research underway research into local news in jurisdictions in Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom.

10:45 a.m.-12:00 p.m. — Does Local News Matter? Tales From the Trenches
What impact does local news have on the communities it serves and what consequences will communities face if that media struggles or disappears entirely? Panelists Kristy Hess, Knia Singh, James Gordon and Brian Lambie will discuss these issues and potential solutions.


12:00 – 2:00 p.m. – Lunch talk with Josh Stearns
Greater than the sum of its parts: Strategies for strengthening local news ecosystems
Where there once was a thriving news industry, dominated locally by big newspapers and TV stations, there are now struggling news ecosystems made up of small pieces loosely joined. As such, the health of a news ecosystem used to be rooted in the stability of a few big newsrooms, but today healthy news ecosystems are more diverse and dynamic. If we are to support a vibrant and healthy news ecosystem we have to attend not only to the health of individual newsrooms but also the strength of the connections between them. Josh Stearns, associate director of the Democracy Fund’s Public Square Program, will present conceptual framework for understanding news ecosystem and offer concrete strategies for strengthening the health and sustainability of local news and information.

2:00 – 5:15 p.m. – Panels/Lightning Talks/Special Sessions
More information to come.

5:15 – 7:15 p.m. – Reception + Local News Storytelling and Innovation Bazaar
Hear from researchers, journalism instructors, news organizations and others as they showcase their local news advocacy efforts, innovations/experiments, local news-related curricula and local news stories that have made a difference. In this new take on the traditional poster session, conference registrants will see multimedia and interactive presentations on local news research and get the chance to talk one-on-one with presenters.


9:00 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. – Panels/Lightning Talks/Special Sessions
More information to come.


12:15 – 2:15 p.m. – Debate, Deliberate, Collaborate: Brainstorming Lunch

This event is an opportunity for conference registrants to share insights and network with others interested in the study of local news.

2:15 – 3:00 p.m. – Wrap-up and concluding remarks