Democracy Fund

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Democracy Fund

Learning from North Carolina: Exploring the News and Information Ecosystem

By Fiona Morgan, in consultation with Melanie Sill / Last Updated 2018 March 8th

​Democracy Fund believes that the future of local news will be built as a diverse ecosystem of organizations and networks that inform and engage the public.

Democracy Fund’s Public Square program defines a local news ecosystem as the network of institutions, collaborations, and people that local communities rely on for news, information, and engagement. Healthy news ecosystems are diverse, interconnected, sustainable, and deeply engaged with their communities. When an ecosystem is healthy, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

To that end, we commissioned a series of reports from regions around the country to better understand the complex forces shaping local news ecosystems. In this report, the authors have sought to map out the strengths and challenges facing North Carolina as the landscape of local news continues to shift due to economic and technological change. Researched and authored by Fiona Morgan in the spring of 2017, it is based on interviews with more than two dozen people from different sectors and geographic areas in North Carolina. It also pulls from previous research by Morgan and by Democracy Fund Senior Fellow Geneva Overholser.

It concludes with 10 suggestions for developing a more robust ecosystem in North Carolina, ranging from convening conversations to forming partnerships to tackling concrete problems by building practical solutions.

This report presents an overview of North Carolina’s local news and information ecosystem but does not attempt to catalogue or cover every part of it. We welcome feedback, further information, and questions about North Carolina’s local news and information ecosystem, our ecosystem approach to supporting local news, and Democracy Fund’s Public Square program to Learn more about our North Carolina Local News Lab Fund here.