A project of Democracy Fund

April 7, 2017

Local Fix: ZIP Code Stories, Bank Lessons and Business Strategies



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…

The Youths Will Lead The Way

You’ve probably seen the story, but we couldn’t resist sharing the news about the high school newspaper investigation that resulted in a principal’s resignation. Never underestimate the youth media in your midst. Here is the students’ original story.📢  If you enjoy the Local Fix please pass it on and help us reach more newsrooms: tinyletter.com/localfix  🙌🏾

Learning From Outside of Journalism

piggy bank sitting on a pile of coins

Journalism shouldn’t happen in a vacuum, and the lessons we learn shouldn’t come from just our industry. As we think about how to build trust in journalism, Joshua Benton points out one institution that is also grappling with the question — banks. 🏛  How can we learn from lessons around the unbanked and underbanked to address the “unnewsed”? Here are just a few links to relevant lessons and parallel problems that banks and news organizations face:

Tell Stories Through ZIP Codes

Your ZIP code can define your entire life. Not a new concept, but one full of reporting opportunities. This week, Propublica launched a look into disparities in car insurance premiums in minority neighborhoods. If you live in (or have a news organization in) California, Illinois, Missouri or Texas, you can see how the ZIP codes make a difference in what people pay. Localizing a big story like this is one way to extend resources and serve your community:

It Is Your Business

The business side of journalism is your business no matter where you sit in the newsroom. You don’t have to be in the weeds, you shouldn’t let it bias your reporting, but you also can’t turn a blind eye to how your newsroom stays afloat. 👀  In a post from 2015 Celeste LeCompte writes about how transparency about the business side made her “both a better reporter and a better employee.” In addition, there are two other posts below that are chock full of ideas from two long-time newsrooms that are well worth your time.

Local News Lab Link of the Week
Our site is full of practical advice, tools and tips. This week, we recommend this post on how journalism networks can strengthen local news ecosystems. 💪🏽 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.


Teresa Gorman
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