Longmont, Colorado is a news desert. It’s one of many in the US at a time when readers increasingly rely on national legacy publications for news along with smaller online organizations, often supported by a single rich funder, that are vulnerable to closure at a moment’s notice.
But Rae Ellen Bichell reports for NPR that residents—including the founders of a new, volunteer-led publication—are exploring a new way to fund local journalism. The idea is to create a community information district, which is a type of tax-funded special district—the kind of designation that local governments already give to parks, highways, or other spaces that provide a public service. The city is now studying how to create an information district to fund Longmont’s library, which could include money to support local journalism.
The Community Information Cooperative, a nonprofit based in New Jersey, has studied and developed this model over the past few years, and in June it published a guide on how to create your own info district.
Hear NPR’s full report.