The US government needs to create a new fund for community media outlets that supports them and trains them to serve as a kind of humanitarian newswire, focusing on getting neighborhoods vital information. The larger media landscape will continue on the business path it has always followed, but communities in need can’t wait for that behemoth to turn its attention their way.

We don’t have to go to war-torn countries like Sri Lanka to explore the idea of information as a human right. We can do it right here, in the United States, on Indian reservations, in immigrant communities, in struggling cities. Lets stop lamenting the fall of big media entities and start supporting the survival of the small but vital community media outlets that are reaching people who need basic, targeted information to get through the day.

Jesse Hardman is a reporter, journalism teacher, and international media development specialist. His work is featured on NPR,, and a number of other national and international media outlets. Hardman has trained reporters in Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Venezuela, and South Africa. He currently teaches at CUNY Graduate School of Journalism and Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs.