A project of Democracy Fund

March 24, 2017

Local Fix: Answer Your Emails, Sports Innovators, and Submit Your Ideas



Welcome to the Local Fix. 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: Answer Your Emails
The editor of the Dallas Morning News, Mike Wilson, has been getting angry emails from readers saying that the newspaper’s coverage is biased. Wilson started answering them. He eventually invited a few of the email authors to visit the newsroom and attend an editorial meeting. “I was just struck by how ordinary, matter of fact it was. You see that they don’t have horns and they’re not out to be sinister,” Stace Bradshaw, one of the visitors, said.

Are you ready for some links?

Photo by slgckg, Creative Commons

Photo by slgckg, Creative Commons

Our brackets may have seen better days, but March Madness reminded us of some of our favorite past articles on how sports media and reporters are often innovators and the testing ground for experiments in newsrooms. Take a look, and get some inspiration.

Understanding How People Process Facts

There is a lot we can understand from listening to our communities and looking at website metrics, but there is also a growing literature in psychology that can help us understand how people read and make sense of journalism and media. A series of recent articles surface new ideas about how people do or don’t change their minds. Dig into these pieces and see if they suggest new ways of telling stories or engaging your audience around complex or controversial topics.

When News Breaks, Pause

The attacks in London this week filled our social media feeds with raw images of the wounded on the side of the road. This raised questions for journalists about how and if to share and spread those images. Questions about verifying the source, the ethics of showing injured people’s faces swirled. Charlie Becket, director of Polis in the UK, was specifically concerned with how media coverage could fan the flames around issues of terror and fear. Links to his report (which was funded by Democracy Fund Voice) and other links on social reporting and breaking news are below.

Get Those Applications Ready

We all love a deadline, and there are a few coming up that you might be interested in. Take a few minutes to think of your best ideas and pitch to ONA, the Prototype Fund, and more.

Local News Lab Link of the Week
Our site is full of practical advice, tools and tips. This week, we recommend Daniela Gerson’s post on four steps for news organizations to start collaborating with ethnic media. Send us your feedback and ideas for other resources that you would find useful on the Lab at localnewslab@democracyfund.org.

Have a good weekend
Josh and Teresa
@jcstearns, @gteresa

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.