Left-Wing Activists Pressure Big Donors To Bankroll Local Media Networks

(Photo credit should read EMILY KASK/AFP via Getty Images)

James Lynch Contributor
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Left-wing activists are pressuring liberal donors to fund local media networks and social media influencers to reach underserved audiences, a new report outlines.

The report, titled “Analysis of the Changing U.S. News Media Landscape and Strategies Toward Delivering Civic Value” provides suggestions for left-wing donors looking to navigate the digital media landscape. (RELATED: Meet The Chosen Heir To George Soros’ $25 Billion Liberal Empire)

“This report seeks to support new efforts and reimaginings of existing enterprises that have the potential to get more higher-quality news to millions of Americans, particularly in geographies and among demographic groups that are underserved,” the report reads.

It was first obtained by Semafor and was prepared for an upcoming gathering of left-wing leaders in Washington, D.C., the outlet reported.

The authors argue that local TV outlets have not suffered from the same economic difficulties as digital media and deserve more attention. “For instance, local broadcast TV has, so far, has proven relatively impervious to the declines in employment, revenue, and news production volume that have hit other media hard. But local TV news has attracted relatively little focus, particularly from the civic media investors that are making big bets on print- and audio-focused news production. Local TV news also seems to be viewed as generic, plastic, staid, commoditized,” the report claims.

Prominent liberal outlets such as NPR, Washington Post, and Vox have experienced layoffs in the past year. Buzzfeed media was shuttered in April and Vice News filed for bankruptcy in May. Left-wing billionaire George Soros led a group of investors who purchased Vice Media for an estimated $225 million after its bankruptcy. Soros is also part of an investment group spending $60 million to buy 18 conservative Latino radio stations across the country.

The report describes how for-profit investors and non-profit philanthropists could create new media enterprises that achieve civic goals and financial returns.

“We believe there may be special value in enterprises and collaborations that live in the interstitial space between something that can return a dollar or more for every dollar invested and something that returns not one penny. Isn’t an enterprise that delivers 80 cents on the dollar along with significant civic impact more attractive than one that delivers similar impact, but returns nothing financially?” the report states.

Another alternative media proposal consists of directly investing in social media creators with large audiences. “As individual creators increasingly serve as key news sources, we need new models that respect and reward their roles as trusted communicators who understand audience and attention,” the report says.

Pew Research data from September 2022 shows about half of Americans get their news from social media “sometimes” or “often,” similar figures to Pew’s 2020 and 2021 survey results.

“We believe that the best opportunities to create new models of sustainable news involve integrating the news content that we value into media ecosystems, enterprises, and content streams we may not value, but large swaths of Americans are eager to consume,” the report concludes.

It was authored by activists Sophie Elliott and Arkadi Gerney, left-wing commentator Tim Hogan, consultant Sarah Knight and graduate student Akhil Rajan. The report was advised by former Vox executive Allison Rockey, content strategist Jonathan Smith and left-wing writer Elizabeth Spiers.