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

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Press Releases

  • Asbury Park Residents to Gather for News Voices: New Jersey Forum with Local Journalists on March 23

    March 23, 2016
    ASBURY PARK — News Voices: New Jersey is bringing together local residents, journalists, media makers, activists and others in Asbury Park for a community discussion about the media on March 23 at 6 p.m. The event, “Asbury Park: The Whole Story,” will allow journalists to hear firsthand from residents about what life’s really like in the historic and diverse city.
  • Free Press Remembers Ben Bagdikian

    March 11, 2016
    Renowned journalist and media critic Ben Bagdikian died Friday at his home in California. He was 96.
  • Free Press: New Owners of Las Vegas Paper Must Step Forward

    December 14, 2015
    WASHINGTON — The Las Vegas Review-Journal recently announced that a newly formed Delaware-based company had paid $140 million to purchase the daily newspaper and its affiliated publications. The financial backers behind the new company, News + Media Capital Group LLC, have refused to disclose the new owners’ identities to the public or even newsroom staffers.
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Resources

  • 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
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News from Around the Web

  • Amid Media Mega-Mergers, a Mosaic of Community Media Thrives

    Democracy Now!
    April 29, 2016

    The business press is all atwitter with merger news, as federal regulators are set to approve a massive deal between cable giants Charter, Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks.

  • Twenty Years of Media Consolidation Has Not Been Good for Our Democracy

    BillMoyers.com
    March 31, 2016

    Twenty years ago last month, President Bill Clinton signed the Telecommunications Act of 1996. The act was “essentially bought and paid for by corporate media lobbies,” as Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting described it, and radically “opened the floodgates on mergers.”

  • Forum Promotes Asbury Park’s Untold Stories

    Asbury Park Press
    March 25, 2016

    "There are divisions here in Asbury Park, between mainly the East Side and West Side," said Mike Rispoli, director of News Voices: New Jersey. "Media coverage sometimes reinforces those divisions."

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