RTDNA calls for the government to invest in local news through research and ‘seed money’ for news innovators

RTDNA calls for the government to invest in local news through research and ‘seed money’ for news innovators

RTDNA Canada called on the government’s heritage committee to fund research into local news and create seed money for local news start-ups that abide by rigorous journalistic standards. Making its first-ever presentation to a parliamentary committee, RTDNA President Ian Koenigsfest and Past President Andy LeBlanc made four recommendations to the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage this

RTDNA Canada called on the government’s heritage committee to fund research into local news and create seed money for local news start-ups that abide by rigorous journalistic standards.

Making its first-ever presentation to a parliamentary committee, RTDNA President Ian Koenigsfest and Past President Andy LeBlanc made four recommendations to the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage this morning.

  • Listen to the presentation here.

The association recommended the government create “seed money” for digital, local news start-ups to help fuel innovation in local markets.

“Canada needs seed money to specifically fund innovation in the local news market. Innovation will help ensure we have local news in communities for years to come,” Koenigsfest said from Ottawa. “It would also align this industry with others that are already supported like entertainment and social media.”

The association, which represents Canada’s broadcast and digital journalists, also called for the government to fund research into local news – from how the changing marketplace is affecting all types of local media to how the concentration of ownership may be affecting the quality of local news Canadians receive.

“We need to increase our knowledge base on where the gaps in funding are and the subsequent impact it is having on communities across Canada,” Koenigfest said. “Local news needs to be preserved, it is an essential component of our democracy.”

RTDNA also called for the scope of the Canadian Broadcast Standard’s Council jurisdiction expand to include digital journalists who commit to upholding the RTDNA’s recently updated code of ethics.  The CBSC is the self-regulatory organization created by Canada’s private broadcasters to deal with complaints from the public.

The government should also set up a fund to help maintain viable local news outlets across the country, the association said in its submission.

The RTDNA began in 1962 in Canada as an association of news directors. In 2011, the association changed its name to Radio Television Digital News Association and opened its membership to all digital and broadcast journalists.

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