Should a Colorado library publish local news?

Columbia Journalism Review: A late-night debate in a sparsely attended city council chamber in Colorado on Tuesday opened a new front in the national conversation about how to sustain local news.

Voters in Longmont—who previously approved a publicly owned fiber-optic broadband network, and now have some of the fastest internet speeds in the nation—could be asked to consider new taxes to fund a “library district,” a special governmental subdivision that would operate a community library. Roughly a dozen residents are pushing to explore the library district to include some form of community news component.

“A thing like a modern library can fund news,” says W. Vito Montone, who moved to Longmont from California two years ago and is helping organize the project. “It’s just a function that belongs in modern information.”

What a tax-funded, library-governed local news operation would actually look like in practice is so far unclear—it’s early and the group is still hammering out ideas. Some proponents have talked about the possibilities of a newsroom, a print publication, and doing audio and video production.

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