Local news can help communities curb polarization; a researcher and nonprofit news founder share how


On Wednesday, Oct. 12, we kicked off our event series on the impact of local news with a virtual panel moderated by Marsha Cooke, vice president of ESPN Films and executive producer of 30 for 30. Cooke sat down with Joshua Darr, associate dean for research and strategic initiatives at Louisiana State University, and Ramona Giwargis, co-founder and CEO of the San José Spotlight, an American Journalism Project grantee, to talk about how local news can help curb polarization.

Darr shared findings from his research on the impact in communities where local news outlets have shut down, revealing that these communities exhibited increased polarization in a number of ways — both in single-party voting patterns and social attitudes toward those with different political views.

Local news can mitigate these divides, and Darr shared an example demonstrating just that.

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