Pasadena Media Foundation

Pasadena News Feed

Pasadena Media Foundation is the publisher of Local News Pasadena, a new community-focused newsletter and Web site exclusively covering the greater Pasadena-area.

The origin of Local News Pasadena goes back several years. Back to when multiple journalists covering Pasadena were laid off by new for-profit publishers. That included reporters covering local government, education, business, sports, events, local non-profits, politics and, most importantly, neighborhoods.

Around that time, Pasadena Media Foundation was created as a non-profit organization to help save local news by supporting the remaining Pasadena-area journalists. This involved providing many of them with critical tools of the trade, technical services and funding for expenses to get local stories told.

In addition, Pasadena Media Foundation provided funding for local beat reporters at community news outlets.

These efforts slowed the elimination of local news coverage, but the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic hit Pasadena’s news outlets hard. Some historically strong Pasadena periodicals became so-called “ghost newspapers,” publishing only a handful of Pasadena articles per edition and dramatically shrinking in size.

In response, Pasadena Media Foundation created the online edition of Local News Pasadena to supplement coverage of local news.

Combined with an email newsletter and numerous social media accounts, Local News Pasadena is all about provocative local stories in the making.

"Grant money from the Pasadena Media Foundation greatly benefited Pasadena Now at a moment when our financial survival was difficult and the grant will therefore bear fruit for many years.
Pasadena Now isn't backed by a big corporation or deep-pocket investors. So the grant received from the Pasadena Media Foundation was more than welcome, it was a blood transfusion! It allowed us to help pay for the talented reporters we desperately need to fulfill our mission in the community."

- James Macpherson, Publisher
Pasadena Now & Altadena Now

Justin Chapman

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Our Mission to #SaveLocalNews

To build a sustainable financial future for Pasadena-area news and information organizations, which are essential for democracy to function, and to promote high-quality local journalism within the community.

Without revenue, you can’t pay reporters. Without reporters, you can’t develop consistently reliable news reports about what’s happening in your town. Without that reliable news report, you can’t figure out how to run local government. It isn’t rocket science.”
- Alberto Ibargüen, President Emeritus, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

"Trusted local information and the people and systems that gather and distribute it are critical infrastructure for communities, just like the people and systems necessary to provide housing, roads, electricity, clean air and water, healthy food, reliable broadband data networks, schools, healthcare and cultural institutions."
- Andrew Nachison, National Community Reinvestment Coalition

Our Shared Sense of Urgency

News organizations across the nation have been decimated by the collapse of traditional business models brought on by the impact of digital technology and social media. The Pasadena area is no stranger to these market forces, with multiple news outlets recently eliminating editorial staff, shifting focus away from local news coverage or shutting down entirely.

Readers and advertisers have been drawn to other information sources, especially on the Internet. As a result, many communities have turned into news deserts, with little or no local reporting. Information to minority communities is especially impacted.

Now combined with the COVID-19 pandemic, our local news agencies are further challenged to remain viable, while simultaneously finding themselves responsible for an increasingly important role in the dissemination of accurate and crucial information. 

Brian Stelter

Brian Stelter on Saving Local News

Brian Stelter is a special correspondent for Vanity Fair, author of Network of Lies: The Epic Saga of Fox News, Donald Trump: The Battle for American Democracy, and a resident of Maryland who has been writing about David Smith of Sinclair Media for decades. Brian discusses his expectations for the takeover of the Baltimore Sun.

Brian Stelter:

Yes, I grew up reading The Sun. Oftentimes, when I was in Annapolis or Baltimore, covering a story, the only other reporter there was from the Baltimore Sun. Although that paper has been shrinking for years, like most print newspapers across the country, it is still the go-to media outlet for a major American city. So what's going to happen to it now? This is the end of The Sun as a nonpartisan, widely trusted outlet, and there's going to have to be alternatives that pop up in its place because when these sorts of right-wing backers of media talk, they talk in code. When they say fair, what they really mean is we think the press is too liberal. When they say balanced, what they mean is we want the media to advance our political agenda but cloak it in an all-sides claim of balance. It's that kind of code language that we're already hearing the new owner of the Sun start to use. It's like Trump attacking the media and, then again, caring a lot about what Time Magazine says about him.

My understanding from sources at The Sun and around Maryland politics is that David Smith has been really interested in trying to buy the Sun for quite some time. He sits at home in his mansion in suburban Baltimore. He watches what's going on in the city. And he thinks he can somehow make a difference, and let's be clear: make a difference means to advance a right-wing agenda by buying up the only big newspaper in town. This is more of a pattern, as you said, of an old-school newspaper and news outlets becoming zombies. You know, they get taken over by these right-wing buyers. They become shells of their former selves, and they become political machines. This is going to keep happening as print fades away and attention and ad dollars move digital. But there is something we can all do about it. We can all go and support the alternatives.

I've been studying this for years because you see attention on a city like Baltimore only when there is unrest, as we saw nearly a decade ago with Freddie Gray, only when there is a surge in crime. You know what happened in Baltimore in 2023? There was a dramatic reduction in the murder rate. You don't hear about that on Fox or across right-wing talk radio. You only hear these headlines when they are terrifying and when they are used to advance a certain agenda. And unfortunately, it's a force to be reckoned with in this Republican primary but also in the 2024 election. It's kind of a spigot that's always turned on and pumping at full blast every day, no matter what's actually happening in the trendline data.

Well, what do we do? We seek alternatives. There is an amazing startup in Baltimore that's actually breaking news about The Sun being taken over. And that's what viewers can do. They can support local grassroots news, nonprofits, and startups. They can go out and help create their own. That's going to be the solution to this problem that's plaguing the media outlets.