Defending All Acts of Journalism

U.S. journalism is in a fragile state. Traditional media face unprecedented economic, legal and technological challenges. Decades of runaway consolidation have shuttered newsrooms and led to thousands of journalist layoffs.

And while new outlets and individuals are performing acts of journalism, their efforts do not yet fill the gaps. There is now less local reporting, which in turn has diminished civic participation. The weakening of journalism institutions also means that governments and corporations aren’t being held accountable.

It’s time to organize.

We believe the best hope for public-interest journalism to survive and thrive lies in engaging the public. Our journalism program builds relationships by assessing local news needs and connecting newsrooms with communities. Our News Voices: New Jersey pilot project is facilitating dialogues between local residents and the news organizations that serve them. We’re giving news outlets the tools to respond to local concerns, especially those of historically underserved or underrepresented communities.

Our press freedom work defends the rights of journalists and individuals — from the national security reporter to the smartphone user recording the police — to freely and securely report on the world around them. Free Press and our allies fight government surveillance of journalists and their sources, protect the right to record and report, bolster access to public records, and advocate for policies that protect newsgathering, privacy and civil rights.

Free Press has helped lead the policy discussion on how to confront the ongoing crisis in journalism. We’ve also mobilized millions to fight media mergers and block attempts to cut funding for public broadcasting. And we’re advocating for long-term policy changes to strengthen and support our nation’s noncommercial media outlets.

We’re building a nationwide effort from the ground up to foster quality local journalism.

Blog Posts

  • Creating a Constituency for the News

    September 2, 2015
    There’s often a real distance between journalists and the communities they’re supposed to serve. To make local reporting more viable and vibrant, it needs to consider perspectives from outside the news industry.
  • You, Me and the News Media in New Brunswick

    August 28, 2015
    One of the best parts about the News Voices: New Jersey project is getting to meet with and listen to our members in the Garden State. And many of those members have told us that their communities aren’t getting close to enough local news coverage.
  • Proof That No News Is Not Good News

    August 20, 2015
    We asked our New Jersey members to tell us how they consume news, what issues they care about, and how well they feel local media reflect their communities. More than 300 people responded — and their answers were telling.
More »


  • Tell St. Louis County: Protect ALL Acts of Journalism

    One day after the one-year anniversary of the killing of Michael Brown, St. Louis County filed charges against two reporters who were arrested in 2014 while covering the Ferguson protests. Their crime? Being journalists.

    Journalism is not a crime. Demand that St. Louis County drop these charges and protect everyone who performs all acts of journalism.

More »

Press Releases

  • Verizon-AOL Merger Makes No Sense

    May 12, 2015
    WASHINGTON — Verizon Communications plans to buy AOL for $4.4 billion, according to a report in Tuesday's Wall Street Journal. The deal is the telecom giant's latest bid to expand its business to include mobile video and advertising services. If finalized, Verizon would also take control of AOL's online news sites, including Engadget, The Huffington Post and TechCrunch.
  • Who Gets a Press Pass?

    June 9, 2014

    The Digital Media Law Project at Harvard University’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society and the Journalist’s Resource project at Harvard’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy are pleased to release a new report: Who Gets a Press Pass? Media Credentialing Practices in the United States.

  • 42 Free Speech, Open Government and Public Interest Groups Urge the FCC to Protect Net Neutrality

    March 20, 2014
    WASHINGTON -- On Thursday, Free Press and 41 freedom of speech, open government, journalism and public interest groups sent a letter urging Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler to reclassify broadband access services to protect freedom of expression online.
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  • Letter to President Obama Regarding the Next FCC Chair

    On March 27, 2013, the Free Press Action Fund and a coalition of 27 other organizations sent a letter to President Obama urging him to nominate an FCC chair who will "protect the future of communications for all."

    March 29, 2013
  • Free Press Letter to the Commission on Presidential Debates

    Letter from Free Press to the Commission on Presidential Debates regarding the Commission's failure to choose a journalist of color to moderate one of the upcoming presidential debates.

    August 29, 2012
  • Evaluating New Models

    A number of alternative models for the news — recent experiments, longstanding ventures and ideas yet to move beyond the blueprint phase — hold clues for what new press institutions and new forms of journalism may look like.

    June 12, 2012
More »

News from Around the Web

  • Free Press Launches Program to Engage New Jersey Residents and Local Newsrooms

    Newspaper Association of America
    August 6, 2015

    A new initiative in New Jersey aims to change the way local residents engage with newsrooms throughout their communities. Free Press is the organization behind News Voices: New Jersey, an 18-month project designed to create relationships among local media outlets and concerned residents for the sake of sustainable, quality journalism.

  • Interview with Mike Rispoli of Free Press

    Bizyhood Blog
    July 7, 2015

    If journalism plays a vital role in our communities and our democracy, then the popular “future of journalism” discussions need to better represent the public and include a more diverse set of voices.

  • A Bold Step Toward Community-Driven Journalism in New Jersey

    July 1, 2015

    At the Dodge Foundation, we fundamentally believe that community engagement is key to the sustainability of local journalism — and so do our colleagues at the Democracy Fund. This is why we have partnered with them to support “News Voices New Jersey,” a bold effort by Free Press to build meaningful relationships between local news rooms and their communities, to create a collaborative network of people invested in the future of local news toward vibrant, inclusive communities.

Learn More

  • Low Power FM Radio

    Low Power FM radio stations are community-based nonprofit outlets that broadcast to neighborhoods and small towns throughout the country.

    LPFM stations have a limited broadcast range of just a few miles, but their impact on communities can be immense. These noncommercial stations inject vibrancy into a radio dial that has suffered from years of media consolidation.

    LPFM stations offer a platform for content and viewpoints that traditional media overlook. These stations foster community identity and serve as hubs for vital safety information during emergencies.

  • Attacks on Public Media

    Every year, for almost a decade, Americans have ranked public television as the institution they trust most. And more than 70 percent of Americans see funding for public television as money “well spent.” Exactly how much do Americans spend to support this resource? Pocket change: The United States spends less than$1.50 per person on public broadcasting — 20 times less than Germany and a whopping 70 times less than Denmark.

  • Press Freedom

    Our democracy needs a robust press to hold our leaders accountable and cover the important issues facing our communities.

    But press freedom is under attack today, with government authorities seizing journalists’ phone records, detaining reporters at border crossings and demanding that journalists reveal the identities of confidential sources.

People + Policy

= Positive Change for the Public Good

people + policy = Positive Change for the Public Good