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Local newspapers in Washington state are so gravely diminished that our democracy is at risk, according to The Decline of Local News and Its Impact on Democracy, a study published by the League of Women Voters of Washington Education Fund. The study, approved by the state League board of directors Nov. 14, focuses on the closure of more than two dozen Washington newspapers, the loss of more than two-thirds of the state’s newspaper editors and reporters, large cutbacks in news coverage, and significant decreases in circulation and readership.

Through March 2023, local Leagues throughout Washington will read and discuss the study’s findings, embarking on a process to determine whether the League will adopt a policy position supporting local news. Based on the feedback they receive from local Leagues, members of the state board will determine in spring 2023 whether to adopt a policy position regarding local news. If they do so, delegates to the May 2023 state convention will vote on the proposed position. Adoption of a policy position would allow the nonprofit, nonpartisan League to advocate in support of local news across Washington. For more information on the League’s study and consensus process click here.

View a 3-minute video focused on the study here.

Seattle-King County League to Host Virtual Presentation on Dec. 1

A virtual presentation highlighting the findings of “The Decline of Local News and Its Impact on Democracy” is scheduled on December 1, 2022 at 7 PM. Tune in to learn how the decline of local news is affecting our communities in Washington. Representatives of the 10-member League committee including our League Treasurer, Delores Irwin, will provide a summary of the nearly two-year-long study that reviewed the effects of the closure of more than two dozen newspapers and the loss of more than two-thirds of Washington’s local newspaper reporters.

The public is welcome to attend. If you miss the forum you may watch on the LWV Seattle King County YouTube channel afterwards.

Kittitas County League to Host Virtual Presentation on Jan. 18

KC League will host a presentation on the study during our January program – more details to come!

State League to Host Virtual Presentation on Jan. 21

A statewide virtual presentation is also scheduled for late January. Check the LWVWA site for updated information.

Seattle Times Article

Seattle Times, Voice for the Free Press, published an article by Brier Dudley, New study documents Washington’s local news and democracy crisis, about the study on November 16, 2022. The graphic above shows Washington’s remaining newspapers.

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