Ethnic Media Organizations Would Be Bolstered in Bill to Increase Community News Coverage

Fund for Public Interest Journalism Would Direct at Least 25 Percent of $50 Million in Grants over 5 years to Ethnic Media

SACRAMENTO – Ethnic media organizations would be eligible to apply for at least 25 percent of a $50 million fund under Senator Steve Glazer’s bill to bolster community news at a time when local news coverage has been decimated around California and assaults on democracy remain a growing concern.

The bill, SB 911, cleared a key Senate committee and now heads to the Senate Appropriations Committee. If approved by the Legislature and signed by the Governor, the $50 million grant would be distributed over five years.

“Ethnic media organizations have taken a larger economic brunt than most during COVID, and have historically faced more significant hurdles than most in keeping their news operations afloat,” said Senator Glazer, D-Contra Costa. “Ethnic communities have been particularly vulnerable to misinformation filling the voids left behind by shuttered newsrooms. This bill would help ensure that people around the state have access to news and information that is important to their lives and to the vital upkeep of democracy.”

To make sure that even the least equipped or cash-strapped news organization has access to the fund’s resources, technical assistance will be available to grant applicants, under SB 911. They also would be accessible to limited-English speaking and non-English speaking individuals.

The focus and priority would be funding the needs of news organizations publishing in or for historically underserved communities and news organizations in geographic parts of the state that have suffered from a decline in media coverage. The bill also creates a 25 percent set aside for small community news organizations.

“Local news organizations serving under-represented communities are an essential component of many communities,” said Senator Monique Limon, D-Santa Barbara, a co-author. “Unfortunately, they have faced historic hurdles that have been further exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. SB 911 will assist in their continued recovery to ensure these important sources of information remain economically strong and present in communities that rely on them for news and information.”

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