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The Disappearing Media: What Happens When Local Government Coverage Goes Away? How will the Public Get Information?

April 25th, 2018

Everyone knows that newspapers are fighting for their survival. Layoffs and staff cuts have reduced newsrooms to a tiny fraction of where papers were not long ago. The Inland Region doesn’t have much television or radio presence. What happens when government agencies are no longer covered and are left on their own best behavior? How will an interested public get reliable information about their governments? Although public corruption stories are a regular feature of the Internet, the challenge of learning what government’s doing is perhaps more important. What does the future hold, especially for voters and elections?

Dave Lesher has written extensively about disappearing media coverage. As a reporter and editor, he has grappled with the realities of staff reductions, diminished oversight and the loss of available, objective information.

If city, school district or other government electeds and staff no longer have to look over their shoulders, what then? How does local government get information it wants the public to have into their hands? Join us for a close look at one of any community’s most difficult and worrisome problems.


David Lesher is co-founder, Editor and CEO of CALmatters.org, a nonprofit, nonpartisan media venture dedicated to explaining California’s politics and policies. Previously, Lesher was Director of Government Affairs at the Public Policy Institute of California, a non-partisan think tank focused on state policy issues. Lesher has more than 25 years of journalism experience, largely at the Los Angeles Times where he was a political writer, state Capitol reporter and assistant national editor for the White House campaign. He also has served as editor of California Journal magazine and as California director for the New America Foundation.