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Help ensure the Herald’s news future


I have always been a reporter, and it all started here in Bucks County. First, I was a newbie journalist for The Daily Intelligencer, covering the Bucks County court system and what was then a mostly rural Hilltown Township. Later, I became a staff writer at The Philadelphia Inquirer, where I covered corruption and crime, government and legal affairs, major murder trials and compelling issues in the criminal justice system, such as wrongful convictions.

I’ve never strayed far from Bucks County, and I’ve always tried to stay on top of the news. That hasn’t always been so easy to do as substantial cutbacks at most news organizations have made it harder and harder to learn about what is happening.

Unless you read the Bucks County Herald.

These days, the Herald is the best place to get local news in Bucks County. Readers can read about what happens at school board and municipal meetings, and learn the outcome of elections throughout the county. There are photos galore, plenty of high school sports coverage and the latest news from Bucks and across the river in Hunterdon County. But it is the consistent coverage of local school boards and municipal governments that is especially critical to inform the public and nurture our democracy and our civil society.

Not everyone is so lucky.

According to the recent 2023 report of The State of Local News, residents in more than half of the country’s 3,100 counties either don’t have a local news outlet or have only a single surviving outlet — almost always a weekly paper. The author of this report — Penelope Muse Abernathy — a former executive with The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times who is now a visiting professor at Northwestern University, has been studying this issue for years.

Abernathy finds hope in the trend of news outlets that are run by nonprofit organizations funded by community and charitable contributions. The Herald, of course, is one such nonprofit, and I am a member of the board that is guiding its future.

As a longtime journalist and now a journalism professor at The College of New Jersey, I am constantly reminded of our nation’s acute need for reliable local news. Without a news organization acting as the watchdog, it is easier for corruption to infect local government and for misinformation or lack of information to breed ignorance. There is nothing quite like a local newspaper to shine the spotlight on what is happening in the community it serves. The Herald is committed to its role as the local news source to inform the people and ask the hard questions that must be asked of our elected leaders.

As we close out the year 2023, please consider making a contribution that will help ensure the future of the Herald. We all need this independent and nonpartisan news organization now more than ever in this deeply distressing era of polarization and anger-driven cable shows. The Herald is a local treasure. Please help ensure it will always be here when you need to know what is happening in your neighborhood, your township and your county.

Emilie Lounsberry joined the board of directors of the Bucks County Herald Foundation in November.

Join our readers whose generous donations are making it possible for you to read our news coverage. Help keep local journalism alive and our community strong. Donate today.