Media panel at Good Morning Truckee explores challenges of local journalism, need for media literacy

The panel spoke for a crowded audience.
Hannah Pence, Tahoe Daily Tribune

TRUCKEE, Calif.— Good Morning Truckee’s media panel discussion presented by the Truckee Chamber of Commerce offered a unique look into the triumphs and challenges of local journalism in the basin. 

Featuring members from local media stations including CC Media, Moonshine Ink, The Sierra Sun, Tahoe Truckee Media, and KTKE 101.5 Radio, the panel was able to discuss the importance of local journalism, and the role each agency plays in distributing news to the wide variety of people who live and play in the basin. 

Panelists included CC Media’s Laura Partridge, Moonshine Ink’s Mayumi Peacock, KTKE 101.5’s JD Hoss, Tahoe Truckee Media’s Rory O’Farrell, and Sierra Sun’s Rob Galloway. 

A big topic of conversation amongst panelists was the fires that have happened and continue to happen near and around the basin as a result of extreme weather conditions and recklessness among individuals. 

“Our jobs are to gather that information and get it to you so you can that information and use it the best of your needs,” said Hoss. “We bring you immediate information right now. So if there’s a problem or a situation in the community, we’re there that exact time. We’re doing our best.” 

The panel ultimately agreed that serving the public is a number one priority at each publication, while also piecing the freedom of press and the ability to share people’s stories. 

“I think it’s really important that when you think about needs and interests of the community, it also revolves around care of the community,” said Galloway. “And I think that really pushes in to the fact that we really need to listen and we really need to make sure that we’re covering the right topics for the community, and it’s the topics that they care most about while also fostering that sense of community at the same time.” 

Peacock was also able to touch on the many challenges that not only local journalism faces, but country wide. 

“At Moonshine, we’re an endangered species,” said Peacock. “We’re one of the 10% of the country’s media that is independent. And I think that is showing in many of the fractures that we have in this country.” 

Peacock shared statistics from an Atlantic opinion piece shared recently, which pointed out that newspaper newsroom employees have dropped by 57% from 2008 to 2020 according a Pew research study, leading the absence of local journalism in communities around the country. 

“I think the primary obstacles for journalism and converting the truth to the public is financing what we need to do and maintaining independent voices in our society,” said Peacock. “Without it, I feel like we lose civil discourse and our products become homogenous…” 

The growth of social media in the news cycle and the need for media literacy education was also discussed, with many members of the panel agreeing that social media myths have taken the distrust in journalism to new heights. 

“As a news organization, a lot of times you’re waiting on confirmation of news and sources and information while it’s spreading like wildfire, rumors and information on social media, and you want to try to get ahead of that, but you also want to make sure that you have the right information to get out to the community,” said Galloway. “And sometimes that takes time.” 

Media literacy is the ability to critically analyze stories that are presented in mass media and the ability to determine accuracy and credibility in those stories. 

“This is a growing movement across the globe and people are trying to get it into the classrooms,” said Peacock. “I think it’s vitally important and there are some key questions that they have in the roster of media literacy.” 

The questions include: Who created the message and what is its purpose? What techniques are used to attract and hold attention? What lifestyles, values, and points of vies are depicted? How might different people interpret this message? What is omitted? 

The inherent bias that comes with journalist reporting has led to some distrust overall in big media news outlets. 

The distrust in these outlets ultimately trickles down to local media news outlets, creating a stigma of “fake news.” 

“We’re community based, we wanna tell community stories, but so much of that hatred has been shouted out there with the megaphone that you can’t trust local news or you can’t trust news sources,” said Galloway. “We’re not the national news sources, but we get that stigma attached to us just because we have the same media attached to our names.” 

Before questions were taken by the panel, Galloway was able to touch on the special privilege of having free news resources in the Lake Tahoe area, allowing information to flow freely among residents, visitors, and second homeowners. 

“Not every community has that opportunity,” said Galloway. 

Good Morning Truckee is presented by the Truckee Chamber of Commerce in partnership with multiple agencies and sponsors in the region. These events are free to attend and open to the public. To learn more visit

More Like This, Tap A Topic

Support Local Journalism


Support Local Journalism

Readers around Lake Tahoe, Truckee, and beyond make the Sierra Sun's work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.