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By Eric Johnson
Published Apr 03, 2023

As their fundamental journalistic service, legacy local news organizations, most of which are struggling, help stop the spread of disinformation. As their fundamental journalistic service, legacy local news organizations, most of which are struggling, help stop the spread of disinformation.

Democracy & Journalism

Happy Monday, and happy belated Cesar Chavez Day. Before moving on to this week’s featured news, I would like to take a moment to honor the man who tried to bring economic justice and dignity to California’s farmworkers and their families.

That work remains unfinished, and I invite you to remember that la lucha continua. 

Journalism as a Force Against BS

We editors are generally happy when a news story breaks that aligns with a project we're already working on. Such a story broke this week, but it did not make me happy.

California Local contributor Graham Womack spoke this week to Assemblymember Buffy Wicks, author of a bill that would help fund the state's local news media, which is in serious trouble. The day before that story came in, we read a piece in the LA Times headlined ‘The California newspaper that has no reporters left.’ 

The story of the Salinas Californian, which lost its last reporter in December, was made more poignant by the floods that the region experienced in January, which went unreported. Sadly, cities throughout California and the rest of the nation find themselves in similar circumstances as their main news sources essentially disappear.

You probably already know that the internet effectively killed the newspaper industry, as most local news outlets were slow to figure out how to publish effectively online. You may also know that advertisers who once supported their local paper sent most of their money online. 

You might not know that two companies—Google and Meta (Facebook)—suck up fully half of the total dollars spent on online advertising. Much of that revenue is built on content generated by legacy media outlets. 

Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Asm. Buffy Wicks’ bill, the Journalism Preservation Act, would make the big platforms pay for the content that they suck from online news outlets—along with vast sums of advertising revenue.

Making Online Media Giants Pay for the Industry They Crushed

Assemblymember Buffy Wicks' bill would make Google, Facebook, et al, pay when their ads appear alongside content generated by legitimate news media.
Asm. Buffy Wicks' AB 886, the Journalism Preservation Act, would require Google, Facebook, et al, to share advertising revenue with news media organizations.

The Ghost of a California Newspaper

Historic downtown Salinas, California, capital of Monterey County, and the hub of  "America's Salad Bowl."
James Rainey reports that the Salinas Californian, the daily newspaper serving the capital of Monterey County, has completely emptied its newsroom.

Here's Why We Need Local Journalism

In Placer County, three local school boards banned a nonprofit from all of their campuses because they were tricked by a malicious spreader of disinformation. 

Editor Brings Truth to Placer County

Pastor Casey Tinnin has come under attack following a hit-piece by a notorious spreader of disinformation.
Last week Carol Feineman, managing editor of four Gold Country Media papers, provided her readers with an important piece of information that should reverse a hasty and ill-informed decision.

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