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#SXSWi 2012: A Penny Press for the Digital Age

This SXSW Interactive panel discussed how low-income and working-class people – the majority of Americans – can be included in the future of online news. Saturday, 3/10/2012 9:30AM Sheraton Austin. #sxsw #digipenny #sxdigipenny


  1. Panelist Ryan Thornburg, a journalism professor at UNC-Chapel Hill, blogged for Media Shift about how his Knight News Challenge project, Open Rural, is helping to make local news and information more available to low-income, rural communities. 
  2. You may have heard of "food deserts," neighborhoods that lack access to fresh produce and healthy groceries. In Nieman Lab, panelist Tom Stites discusses "news deserts," communities that lack access to basic reporting and information. "Elites and the affluent are awash in information designed to serve them," Tom writes, "but everyday people, who often grapple with significantly different concerns, are hungry for credible information they need to make their best life and citizenship decisions."
  3. If you're wondering why there's a librarian on a journalism panel, check out Jessamyn's talk about the digital divide. If the future of news is online, this is worrying.
  4. This Pew study from 2010 did a fascinating breakdown by household income of how people use the internet and consume news, online and off. What struck me most was that the divide between income brackets is most stark for online news.
  5. This blog post by Mary Lou Fulton was part of the inspiration for this panel. She is a former Los Angeles Times reporter, now a foundation program officer at the California Endowment. She has a lot of insight into how newspapers in particular evolved in a way that leaves low-income people out of the conversation.
  6. Here are the tweets from our panel. Hashtags were #digipenny and #sxdigipenny. Thanks to all who contributed to the conversation: