Trusted, high-quality news and information are critical to functional societies, political stability, healthy local economies and economic growth. They also serve as powerful counterweights to propaganda, false news and misinformation, and hate speech. The transition to digital and mobile platforms is hitting local media particularly hard, undermining the sustainable creation of quality news, increasing distrust in media, and exacerbating the “post-truth” environment, particularly in markets where news organizations are operating with low capacity or under threat. This is a shared, global crisis that will grow in magnitude as the next 3 billion people come online. We must work now to ensure that all communities are empowered with the capacity to produce and engage with quality, trusted and inclusive local media.
The United For News, in collaboration with the World Economic Forum, seeks to support existing and new local independent news and information organizations, foster economically viable creation and distribution of quality content, and increase the positive impact of this content on the well-being of native businesses, government, and citizens. The change envisioned here is only possible through the commitment of a wide array of stakeholders that span from philanthropically-led media development programs to the global media industry to international brands to the local media entrepreneurs struggling to survive across the world. Coalition stakeholders include NGOs, digital and mobile platforms, advertising and marketing organizations, mobile operators, relevant businesses, government, academia, and independent media and content producers.
United For News will encourage and support the emergence of research and pilot initiatives with potential for systematic impact, prioritizing those that include diverse stakeholders and impact a range of markets and regions. The Coalition will do this by focusing on Content (best practices in trusted, quality content that is inclusive, collaborative, and engaged), Financial aspects (Innovative business models, advertising markets and payment systems, economic trends and supplemental business opportunities), Distribution (Data and analytics, digital literacy, and digital distribution to ensure content reaches all members of the community), and Governance & Policy (Best practices in policy to support local content, spectrum management, pluralistic markets, and mitigation strategies for government interfaces).
In 2018, United for News is undertaking a series of market-based interventions with potential to generate systemic impact in support of regional and local media around the world. These focused initiatives leverage the combined power and experience of our diverse stakeholders and fall into two overarching areas of concern - supporting the sustainability of media and rebuilding trust.