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WCF guests viewing the film at Exploration Place

WCF leaders watch exclusive screening of local news documentary

Since 2004, more than 1,300 communities in the United States have lost neighborhood newspapers. What happens when these communities don't have local stories on the issues most critical to their quality of life?

In May, nearly 45 WCF fund holders, Board members and community leaders gathered at the Exploration Place Digital Dome Theater to find out. Guests watched an exclusive screening of “Storm Lake,” a documentary that profiles a newspaper struggling to stay alive and serve the rural town of Storm Lake, Iowa. Film producer Beth Levison and Pulitzer Prize-winning editor Art Cullen also joined us virtually to give remarks before the showing.

“The film tackles a tough and timely topic,” said WCF’s Director of Philanthropy Meghan Doyle. “As our first in-person event since 2020, we were thrilled to connect with Wichitans who are heavily invested in community needs including local news.”

Suzie and Errol Luginbill

The urgency of saving local journalism is powerfully demonstrated in Storm Lake and resonates with our News and Information Fund efforts.

“Philanthropy increasingly recognizes the role of local news to build and sustain healthy communities,” said WCF’s Chief Strategy Officer Courtney Bengtson. “Over the past three years, WCF has invested more than $2 million in projects and organizations focused on transforming the local news ecosystem. Funding quality local journalism lays the foundation for an informed and engaged community.”

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