Ron Bonjean
Ron Bonjean

When it comes to news publications, size isn’t everything. According to a recent study conducted by Pew Research, 73 percent of Americans still follow their local news outlets, highlighting the significant role local news still plays in the media landscape. While national publications allow for maximum media exposure, properly harnessing the power of local media publications allows you to craft your message to a narrower and more well-defined target audience.

Why do I need to utilize local media?

Communicate your message directly to policy makers: Policy makers look first and foremost to local news in order to determine what their constituents care about. According to the Pew study, 74 percent of Americans agree that local news is important in informing them on issues in government and politics. By utilizing local news publications, you’re shaping the issues that voters and politicians care about.

Attract national publications: With the constantly moving news cycle, it can be hard to gain enough traction to get your message through to national reporters. While national publications shift between issues, mainly covering the big picture, local news publications are able to dive further into your story and revisit the issue if necessary. The extended coverage a local news outlet offers can then be used to attract the attention of larger national publications.

Develop low-cost media campaigns: While TV news remains the cornerstone of local news, digital media platforms have revolutionized the distribution power of local news publications. According to the Pew study, nearly 90 percent of Americans currently receive local news through social media and other digital platforms. By strategically placing local news stories on publications that are distributed digitally, you can harness their distribution power to drive a low-cost social media campaign.

Why should I spend resources on local news media?

When developing a public affairs campaign strategy, effectively utilizing local news publications is vital. Local news outlets offer a host of advantages to effectively driving your message over national publications, including being more connected to their readers, having a well-defined issue set, and offering a more in-depth analysis of the issues. By investing your resources in a strategic mix of both local and national news outlets, you’ll position yourself as a force to be reckoned with.


Ron Bonjean is a partner of the bipartisan public affairs firm ROKK Solutions. He has served as the lead spokesman for both the House and the Senate, as well as the communications strategist for Supreme Court nominee Judge Neil Gorsuch.