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Dean Sarah Bartlett Cowrites NY Times Guest Essay, “How City Hall Saved Local News”

  • By Newmark J-School Staff

Dean Sarah Bartlett and Julie Sandorf, president of the Charles H. Revson Foundation, have a guest essay in The New York Times today explaining how city ad dollars have helped sustain small community newspapers and websites.

As a result of an executive order signed by Mayor Bill de Blasio in May 2019, nearly $10 million in advertising was directed to more than 220 of these news organizations in the first year, according to a report from the Newmark J-School’s Center for Community Media.

“During a period that included a census count, a presidential election and the pandemic, the ads provided a way for the outlets to get critical information to New Yorkers who don’t always consume English-language news from the city’s big daily papers or commercial TV and radio stations,” Bartlett and Sandorf wrote. “Just as important, these ads from the city kept small news outlets alive when their usual sources of advertising — local businesses — dried up during the economic crash caused by the pandemic.”

The program could lead to lasting change. “Community publishers are now asking the City Council to institutionalize the advertising policy with legislation, and New York State legislators to adopt an equivalent program for state government spending,” the two writers reported. “The center also is working with partners in Chicago and California to create similar initiatives there. And the Biden administration is on record supporting a bill that would require federal agencies to include in their budget requests just how much they would spend on ads in the Black, Latino and minority-owned press along with women-owned publications.”

Read the full text of the essay here.