The Philadelphia Inquirer recently published an op-ed titled, “Slow vaccine distribution and disappearing local news are crises with a common solution,” co-authored by Steven Waldman, president of Report for America and coordinator of the Rebuild Local News coalition, and Susan Coffin, MD, MPH, a professor of pediatric infectious diseases at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.
Waldman and Coffin suggests that the rise in closures of local news publications, as well as problems with COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy, can both be improved through government advertising in local news media encouraging vaccination. The authors contrast research showing local news as a more trusted source for many Americans for information such as public health messaging, with the current phenomenon of advertisers using ad technology that funnels ad revenue away from newspapers and toward sites perpetuating disinformation about COVID-19.
Waldman and Coffin call for at least half of public health advertising around distribution of the vaccine to be run as paid ads in local news, citing an executive order in 2019 by the mayor of the City of New York requiring this same percentage of advertising dollars be spent with local news media. The op-ed outlines the benefits to the local economy, local reporting and effectiveness of public health campaigns of increasing advertising in local news media.
The Inquirer has granted permission for News Media Alliance members to republish the op-ed in your publications.
You can download the op-ed here.
Members of the News Media Alliance staff have contributed to this post.