February 17, 2017
Local Fix: Bread Trucks, Guide to News Events, and New Local Resources
Welcome to the Local Fix newsletter. Get the Fix in your inbox by subscribing at tinyletter.com/localfix.
Each week we look at key debates in journalism sustainability and community engagement through the lens of local news. But first, we always begin with one good idea…
One Good Idea: Let’s Talk Local
Our friends at the Poynter Institute announced two exciting projects this week. They launched a newsletter focused on creating two-way conversations across local newsrooms on “issues facing local newsrooms figuring out how to survive and prosper in the digital age.” Poynter’s newsletter will be interactive, giving readers a chance to share ideas and get inspired. Here is more info and how to subscribe. In addition, Poynter has a “Local News Innovation Program” which will offer in-depth business model, audience and editorial coaching for up to 20 media organizations in 2017. The application deadline is March 13. Get on it. 📰
Filling the Rural Journalism Void
While there has been a lot of conversation about the lack of coverage of rural America in journalism lately, we thought it was important to highlight some of the work that is being done. Some of these are new, but others have been going on for a while. From Oregon to Appalachia to Mississippi, journalists are using many different methods to provide vital information and resources to their local communities. Here are just a few:
- These journalists will spend 100 days digging into Appalachia – Poynter
- Rural Oregon provides a laboratory for innovative journalism – Daily Yonder
- Community radio upholds beauty, power of the small – Current
- Why We Created The Bitter Southerner – The Bitter Southerner
- Mississippi Today aims to be the Texas Tribune of its undercovered state – NiemanLab
- The big journalism void: ‘The real crisis is not technological, it’s geographic’ – The Guardian
Building Audience, Building Business Models 💸
Below are three pieces on how publishers are building aspects to their business, rooted in building new products and services for audiences. Each of the newsrooms are growing thanks to their smart investments in local relationships, collaboration, and innovation. Want to think about how you can develop news products with your community? This is a good starting place.
- How local publisher Technically Media is trying to diversify its business with a focus on community – NiemanLab
- The Guardian has gone from 15,000 to 200,000 paying ‘members’ in the past year – Digiday
- A chain of small newspapers hits on a formula for growth – CJR
Delivering the News in Creative Ways
Here at the Local Fix we are always on the look out for unique story formats and delivery mechanisms. Experimenting with how we produce and deliver the news is an opportunity to expand how we serve communities, giving audiences many ways to engage and use the journalism we produce.
- In Chicago, two news orgs are using texting and live events to widen the reach of their reporting on lead – NiemanLab
- WAMU made a game about commuting in DC and it’s so stressful – Technically DC
- An Ann Arbor magazine created a daily newsletter to help fill gaps in the city’s local news coverage – NiemanLab
- How a small public radio station uses a bread truck to spark community engagement – Poynter
- The Post-Standard Kicks off it’s 30th Annual Treasure Hunt This Week – The Post-Standard
🔗Local News Lab Link of the Week🔗
Our new site is chock full of practical advice, tools and tips. For a few weeks, we’ll highlight some of them here on the Local Fix. This week, we recommend our guide to running journalism events. There are sample agendas, budgets, and a template for speaker agreements as well as pages of examples and advice from other newsrooms who have built strong events programs. You can even print the whole thing and hand it to someone in your newsroom by clicking the handy “download PDF” button.
After you check that out, don’t forget to send us your feedback and ideas for other resources that you would find useful on the Lab at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Local Fix is a project of the Democracy Fund’s Public Square Program, which invests in innovations and institutions that are reinventing local media and expanding the public square. Disclosure: Some projects mentioned in this newsletter may be funded by Democracy Fund, you can find a full list of the organizations we support on our website.