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

  • Thousands Call on St. Louis County Prosecutor to Drop Charges Against Two Journalists

    November 24, 2015

    WASHINGTON — On Monday evening, lawyers for journalists Wesley Lowery of the Washington Post and Ryan J. Reilly of the Huffington Post urged the St. Louis County court to dismiss charges that the reporters trespassed and interfered with a police officer. The two journalists were among the many people documenting police activity during the Ferguson demonstrations in August 2014.

  • Free Press Mourns Wally Bowen

    November 18, 2015

    WASHINGTON — North Carolina media activist and community media innovator Wally Bowen passed away Tuesday in Asheville, North Carolina. Bowen was the co-founder of the Mountain Area Information Network, a nonprofit Internet service provider, Low Power FM broadcaster and community hub. He was a nationally known advocate for local self-reliance through local ownership of media infrastructure.

    Free Press President and CEO Craig Aaron made the following statement:

  • ADVISORY: Free Press to Convene News Voices: New Jersey Event in New Brunswick

    November 4, 2015
    NEW BRUNSWICK — News Voices: New Jersey is bringing together community members, journalists, media makers, activists and others in New Brunswick on Nov. 11. The three-hour forum is an opportunity to brainstorm about the future of local journalism and its role in our communities.
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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
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News from Around the Web

  • Real Stories, Real Problems, Real People, Real Journalism

    Channel Surfing
    November 13, 2015

    I attended a community forum last night on the state of local journalism sponsored by Free Press' New Voices project. The aim of the event was to connect journalists to community members in New Brunswick and to reinforce the importance that both play in maintaining an informed and engaged citizenry.

  • Here's Your Chance to Tell Local Media What You Think

    My Central Jersey
    November 12, 2015

    A free event Wednesday night at a Rutgers campus will give the public an opportunity to meet members of the media and learn how reporters can better cover their neighborhoods.

  • 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.

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  • 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