Gina Channell, President and Publisher of the Pleasanton Weekly focused her short presentation on the Cost & Price of Local Journalism.  The Pleasanton Weekly was established in 2000 and covers the news in  Pleasanton, Dublin, Livermore, San Ramon and Danville.  The paper has a circulation of 9,500 (print) and 180,000 (digital) and is owned by Embarcadero Media, which also owns the Palo Alto Weekly, Mountain View Voice, The Almanac, and
One of Gina's key points was that not all local news is created equal and then explained the types of local coverage: 
  • local journalism (e.g., Pleasanton Weekly, Castro Valley Forum) with locally assigned reported;
  • regional coverage (e,g., East Bay Times) that reports local news in a newpaper that covers a much wider region and normally does not assign reporters to the local community;
  • aggregates which collect stories from numerous sources (i.e., Pleasanton Weekly) and publish the news often online.
Gina shared that local newspapers having been declining in signifcant number (i.e., over 2000 newspapers have folded since 2004) and as many as 1500 communities are without a newspaper.  The pandemic has hastened the decline of the newspaper since advertizing revenue has fall dramatically leading to staff reductions (e.g., staffing at Pleasanton Weekly is 1/4 it was seven years ago).  Pleasanton Weekly used to deliver a newspaper to every home, but has had to move to subscriptions and online publishing to survive in the current economic environment.
Gina discussed the importance of strong local journalism to democracy - keeping the people informed on issues.  While discussing the role of the newspaper in a democratic society, Gina gave a shout out to The Olympian at Castro Valley High School for its work.  To wrap up her presentation, Gina briefly discussed that ocal newspapers are a small business and readers need to step to to ensure that these newspapers continue to exist.  According to Gina, one of the best ways is to support local advertizers and let know it. 
She closed with a quote from John Oliver, "The truth is, a big part of the blame for this industry's dire straits falls on us and our unwillingness to pay for the work journalists produce.  We've just grown accustomed to getting our news for free, and the longer that we get something for free, the less willing we are to pay for it. And I'm talking to you, the person watching this segment on YouTube, using the Wi-Fi from the coffee shop underneath your apartment. You're killing us! But sooner or later — sooner or later — we are either going to have to pay for journalism or we are all going to pay for it." 
Watch Gina's presentation here.