Executive Director of the Nevada Press Association, Richard Karpel, talks about how he views the solutions to the local journalism crisis.
SOLUTIONS: WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD?
As the commercial model of journalism has faltered, news outlets have tried new ways to adapt to the new media landscape. Current media companies tend to fall into four new revenue models. Collaboration among newsrooms is common, in stark contrast to the competition present in the commercial model. Technology, though a part in the demise of local news, has brought about many new opportunities in reporting due to the advancements in news technology. Local journalism is perhaps not dying, but moving into a new era, as it had with the introduction of radio, with a few hiccups. Still, it is no secret that local journalism still remains in crisis. Richard Karpel, the executive director of the Nevada Press Association, said he thought there was no "silver bullet" solution to our problems but it will be a variety of different models as well as the actions of government and corporations that will ultimately decide the fate of local news.
THE FOUR MODELS
Billionaire Newspaper Club
This model is when a wealthy sponsor buys a paper in order to keep it functioning. An instance of this happened on a national context in 2013 when Jeff Bezos bought the Washington Post. In a more local context, the CEO of Las Vegas Sands Corp. Sheldon Adelson bought the Las Vegas-Review Journal in 2015. Though there are concerns with corruption (a funder could potentially influence what is and isn't printed about their company), it can be a great revenue model.
Emerging NonProfit Models
A newsroom that gets its revenue primarily from donors, foundations and grants. A national example of this would be ProPublica, a well-respected, investigative journalism publication. A local example of this would be the Nevada Independent or Double Scoop in Reno. This is praised as one of the more sustainable and well-used revenue model, however it has some faults in typically being more niche and focusing on a single subject rather than over-arching news.
Newsrooms that operate on advertiser or subscription revenue, similar to the traditional revenue model for journalism. The New York Times is an example of this, as well as This is Reno.
Organizations such as Report for America and the American Journalism Project that contract reporters and help bolster local newsrooms. This is a very popular model used by already existing newsrooms and is used by the NPR station in Reno, KUNR.