Use it or lose it: Can local journalism survive? Impact100 asks experts, March 7 in Madison

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Editor’s note: Impact 100 has asked me to moderate this talk. Please join me and our expert panel for what promises to be a lively discussion about a subject vital for a strong democracy.

From Impact100 Garden State

“Use It or Lose It: Why Local News Matters”

WHAT: A panel discussion on the future of local journalism.

WHEN: AT 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 7, 2019.

WHERE: Grace Episcopal Church, 4 Madison Ave., Madison.

ADMISSION: Free, parking and entrance in the rear of the building.


Local newsrooms are disappearing in America. According to a 2018 survey by the University of North Carolina Center for Innovation and Sustainability in Local Media, half of the 3,143 counties in the U.S. now have just one newspaper.

Nearly 200 counties have no newspaper at all.

Do we know what is happening in our own backyards???

The fallout from not having a reliable source of local, original, hard news pertaining to our communities is far greater than we can imagine.

Local reporters know where to look and how to ask the right questions. Oversight of municipal governments and budgets, questioning development that does nothing to enrich the community, and reporting health hazards by polluters are just a few areas that might go unnoticed by community bulletin boards that pass for news.

A good example can be found in the recent water crisis in Flint, MI. Data from the Pew Research Center confirmed that local media were reporting on the situation long before national media was paying attention. Without local coverage, the story never would have gotten off the ground.

What can be done? Eight panelists from a variety of media – print, digital, television – will join advocates for government and philanthropic support, to discuss the issue.

Moderated by Kevin Coughlin, editor and publisher of, the distinguished group of panelists includes:

Joe Amditis, Associate Director, Center for Cooperative Media, School of Communication and Media at Montclair State University

Chris Daggett, Former President and CEO of the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation

Marie DeNoia, Emmy Award winning journalist, reporter for WCBS, producer at MSNBC

Denise Lang-Grant, Former editor of Echoes-Sentinel, member of Producers Guild of America

Elizabeth Parker, Executive editor and co-publisher of NJ Hills Media Group

Mike Rispoli, Director of the Free Press New Voices connecting communities to local newsrooms

Lisa Vickery, Day editor of the national news desk at the Wall Street Journal

Impact 100 is a Special Project Fund of the Community Foundation of New Jersey (, which supports charitable giving focused on making NJ communities stronger.

Women work together in Impact100 to provide transformative grants to local nonprofits in Morris, Passaic, Somerset, Sussex, and Union counties. Each member donates $1000 a year and together they make the impact of a $100,000 donation.

Over six years since Impact 100 Garden State was founded, the organization has grown from 135 members to 300 members, and during that time provided over $1.35 million in grant money to 13 local non-profits.

Impact 100 Garden State is actively seeking women to join and become members of this all-volunteer organization. Its membership drive runs through March 31, 2019.

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  1. Regarding local journalism and its role in our society—- I think local publications need to provide useful, timely, interesting and accurate information to its readers. Quality of life issues are important like over development, traffic congestion as well as local history, wildlife, the continuing activities of local authors/artists/ naturalists and entrepreneurs and the initiatives of local government to improve our lives through effective oversight and management of our municipalities—-same for local schools and universities. Very important that the journalists work to present the real story not the one that presents the information blandly in an effort not to rock the boat.