A project of Democracy Fund

January 31, 2017

Welcome to the New Local News Lab


picture of lightbulbs

No one may truly know what the future of media and journalism holds. But one thing is certain – no matter what technological, economic, or cultural shifts occur, a vibrant and resilient press is central to a healthy democracy.

This is a priority of our work at Democracy Fund. As our team pursues efforts to strengthen local news and participation, we want to share what we learn, provide an opportunity to highlight the work of our grantees, and engage with the community of people working on these issues.

In that spirit, today we are re-launching this website, the Local News Lab. The Local News Lab is a place for risk-takers, craftspeople, reporters, engagement editors, designers, and all those working to create better and sustainable journalism with communities. With a specific focus on creative experiments in collaboration, community engagement, and revenue models, the Lab will highlight and speak to journalists on the ground looking for inspiration, publishers who want to connect with the public, educators teaching new skills, and foundations’ staff interested in supporting local news.

Through the Local News Lab we will share what we learn, invite your input, and shine a spotlight on the people helping make journalism more sustainable, collaborative, and engaged with its community.

This site originated with the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation as part of their pioneering work strengthening the local news ecosystem in New Jersey. That work was supported by Knight Foundation and Democracy Fund. Furthermore, Molly de Aguiar at the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation was instrumental in the redesign of this site.

As we relaunch the site we look forward to continuing to work with Dodge and Knight as well as other partners who share our vision for a vibrant public square.

With help from Dodge the website has been totally redesigned from the ground up. We can’t wait for you to explore it.

Here are three places to get started:

  1. Local News Lab Guides: Launching today along with the site are three guides offering concrete advice to help newsrooms develop new revenue models. Click around, and print them out to use in your work.
  2. You can now dive into a topic of your choice from community engagement to business models to philanthropy.
  3. Lessons from the Local News Lab: Building a More Connected and Collaborative News Ecosystem – A report on the first 18 months of experiments undertaken by the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation.

As you explore the Local News Lab, please share your feedback. We are in the early stages of this work and our goal is for the site to be useful to you. We welcome your input and invite your partnership as we move forward. Send your thoughts to localnewslab@democracyfund.org.

Feature photo via iStock.com/Sensay