COVID-19 has impacted all of us differently, but one thing we all have in common is that this pandemic has forced us all to adapt.
Confined to quarantine, we’ve turned to local news channels at unprecedented rates — almost a 70% spike of traffic year over year, per Outbrain data. With such drastic lifestyle changes, staying on top of the latest news and updates has become second nature.
Which is why it’s incredibly important, today, and in the future, to support local journalism. While COVID-19 has forced us all to pause — no matter your location, the idea remains the same. Stay home to protect yourself, your loved ones, and the ones around you.
The industry is at a critical inflection point: we depend on local media, now, more than ever, while it has become increasingly difficult for these sites to stay in business. It’s a world dominated by platforms, fractured user bases, declining ad rates, and continued uncertainty around the winning business model — paywall, subscriptions, advertising, or some mix of the three. These aren’t new issues that sprung from the COVID pandemic and caught local sites off guard; the pandemic just caused them to accelerate and forced them to the forefront. As a result, more than 50 newsrooms across America have closed.
With newsrooms shutting down across the country, and journalists continuing to be furloughed — or worse — just consider what you would do without your local city newspaper or news station. Local news going out of business is a catastrophically bad thing for all.
The good news? We can all do our part to support local journalism. It’s up to us to ensure that journalists are able to go to work every day and report on what matters. That local media stations can keep us informed on the community happenings. That the people who work tirelessly to provide real-time updates still have places to return to.
Not sure where to begin?
- Marketers: Consider direct buys with local pubs to help sustain local journalism, or work with a Native Ads provider of your choice.
- Consumers: Show a little bit of love to your local news sites. Whether it’s an actual subscription to the digital site (the best option!), spending more time browsing content, or subscribing to their newsletters, it all helps. If you want to contribute, consider a donation, or reach out to your favorite reporters on social media. Engage with some of their news articles, or tweet at them to show your appreciation. Remember — journalists are people too.
- Publishers: Jazz up your monetization strategies during these hard times! Whether you accelerate your plans to roll out Branded Content and eCommerce, or utilize a Native Ads partner — there are many low-lift, low-cost tools and technologies that can help support your revenues during crisis, and beyond.
Even if it’s a small act, remember, it can go a long way.
So, what are some ways you would like to get involved? Tell us in the comments below.
We strongly believe that independent and sustainable journalism is a critically important pillar for society, and we work on it each and every day. As one of our recent iniaitives, we partnered with the Local Media Consortium. Its members will receive access to exclusive and negotiated rates across Outbrain’s inventory. Each member will have access to Outbrain’s Smartfeed technology that allows publishers to not only monetize directly, but to also drive subscriptions, newsletter, and podcast adoption — in addition to e-commerce initiatives — all while keeping audiences engaged with personalized, organic news from publishers.