We’re in the midst of what WHO terms an “infodemic” — endless information about coronavirus, but much of it is unreliable or contradictory. Critical information needs include medical information, scientific facts, and real-time data, as well as local information about regulations and resources. Given the decentralized response to COVID-19 in the United States, information from local, reliable news sources is especially relevant. Such news and information can reinforce evidence-based practices like social distancing, help people understand the specific ways COVID-19 is affecting their community, and highlight local ways to find help and provide help.
Local news is not only more relevant, it is more trusted: In a 2018 Poynter Institute survey, 76% of Americans indicated they have a “great deal” or a “fair amount” of trust in their local television news and 73% do so for local newspapers. By comparison, 55% of Americans have a “great deal” or a “fair amount” of trust in national news, and 47% trust in online news.
Reliable, timely information that people trust is critical to helping communities navigate crises like the one brought on by COVID-19. You can help by supporting high-quality, local journalism through nonprofits such as:
- The Institute for Nonprofit News (INN) and the Facebook Journalism Project (FJP) are administrating the FJP COVID-19 Local News Relief Fund Grant Program.
- Enlace Latino NC, based in North Carolina, is an independent Spanish-language nonprofit news organization.
- The Daily Yonder, based in Kentucky, provides news, commentary, and analysis about and for rural America.
- 100 Days in Appalachia, based in West Virginia, is an open-source, co-published platform.
- The American Journalism Project is a venture philanthropy organization dedicated to local news.
For more on the nonprofits we mention, see Nonprofits to Give To (Examples & Sources).