7 questions to help local media rebound in 2021

By Jane Elizabeth, American Press Institute

As the pandemic peaks and declines with the increased distribution of vaccines, businesses everywhere should be looking ahead to a rebuilding phase that takes into account our new realities. In many local newsrooms, however, those conversations aren’t happening, or are focused primarily on narrow questions such as how and when journalists will return to a physical newsroom.

Blame it on a lack of time, staffing, management experience — but deeper thinking about what these next 12 months will bring to individual newsrooms hasn’t been a priority for some.

Thousands of news offices have been closed for a year due to the pandemic. Frankly, the newsroom reopening decision is likely to be the least complicated task for local newsroom leaders because it’s dependent on external forces like COVID-19 infection rates, the availability of vaccines, guidance from government health officials, and corporate decisions made by people far removed.

But there’s a short and important list of actions that local newsrooms should tackle now.

This report is meant to provoke those discussions and provide a starting point for the urgent work of rebuilding and reconceiving journalism in a way that recognizes our changed world.

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