FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Arlington, VA—In the recently passed American Rescue Plan Act, which President Biden signed into law today, Congress included $1 billion in funding for an awareness campaign to build trust and acceptance of vaccines. The News Media Alliance recommends that trusted sources such as local news publishers be a top distribution channel for that campaign.
News Media Alliance President & CEO, David Chavern, stated, “A nationally organized and locally-focused government advertising campaign would build public trust around vaccines, particularly in hard to reach, diverse communities, which many of our members serve. It would also have the added benefit of providing much needed support for local journalism at a time of declining advertising revenue and business closures due to the pandemic.”
Over the last year, newspaper journalists have been on the front lines of the pandemic. Newspaper website traffic has soared during the pandemic as people look for the most up-to-date information from trusted sources about the impact of COVID-19 on their local communities to help keep themselves and their communities safe.
News publishers are arguably in the best position to distribute locally-focused, audience-specific messaging that will enhance vaccine acceptance. Newspapers represent the most trusted source of news in local markets across all platforms: print, digital and mobile. Recent research has shown that consumers trust in newspapers is more than double the trust in social media.
The overwhelming recommendation of global health officials for eradicating COVID-19 is for people to get vaccinated to stop the spread of the virus. Misinformation campaigns and vaccine hesitancy present formidable challenges in defeating this virus – but they are challenges that can be overcome through raising awareness and providing factual information about the benefits of the vaccine through reliable sources.
News publishers stand ready to work with the federal government and should be a high priority distribution channel for communicating with the public about this critical public health issue.
The News Media Alliance is a nonprofit organization representing more than 2,000 news organizations and their multiplatform businesses in the United States and globally. Alliance members include print, digital and mobile publishers of original news content. Headquartered near Washington, D.C., in Arlington, Va., the association focuses on ensuring the future of news media through communication, research, advocacy and innovation. Information about the News Media Alliance (formerly NAA) can be found at www.newsmediaalliance.org.
Members of the News/Media Alliance staff have contributed to this post.