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Pilot Project Helps Boost Political Ad Spending in Community Media

  • By Amy Dunkin

The City Elections Initiative (CEI), a pilot program of the Center for Community Media (CCM) at the Newmark Graduate School of Journalism, helped community publishers get access to political ad dollars and boost their local election coverage during the NYC primaries in June.

The resources offered by CEI in NYC, including a database of candidates running for office, an interactive map showing 330 community news outlets, and a reporting fellowship program, provide a replicable model for supporting community media in local elections across the country, according to “Making Local Elections Count,” a report released today.

Just as CCM’s Advertising Boost Initiative helped direct advertising dollars from city agencies to the community press, CEI assisted those same media outlets in getting a sizable share of ad spending from political campaigns. According to New York City Campaign Finance Board data, the campaigns spent at least $1.53 million on community media (in all formats) between January and June 2021, much of it delivered within a two- to three-month window just before the June 22 primary election.

Read the full text of the “Making Local Elections Count” report here.