A project of Democracy Fund

June 16, 2017

Local Fix: Disrupting and Repairing


Welcome to the Local Fix. Each week we look at key debates in journalism sustainability and community engagement through the lens of local news.  Subscribe to the Local Fix

We’ll be in Phoenix next week attending events with the Institute for Nonprofit News, Local Independent Online Publishers, and Investigative Reporters and Editors. If you’ll be out there too please be sure to say hello – we’d love to chat. Best way to reach us is replying to this email or finding us on Twitter @jcstearns or @gteresa. Since we’ll be on the road, there won’t be a Local Fix next week.

But first, we always begin with one good idea…

One Good Idea: We Need to be Disrupting and Repairing

Diagram is from a local media ecosystem design workshop in Chicago.

Diagram is from a local media ecosystem design workshop in Chicago.

Andrea Hart of Chicago’s City Bureau writes about journalism’s ongoing state of disruption and talks about how they are approaching disruption in their local media ecosystem. She writes, “We choose to disrupt processes within journalism that are barriers to inclusivity and accountability. In our endeavor to build strong relationships with our audience, we disrupt processes that perpetuate harmful reporting and create community distrust. Disruption does not mean destruction. For us, disruption is the first step on the way to repair.” We recommend reading the whole piece and thinking about what we are trying to disrupt, and whether we have invested enough in the repair that comes after.

Local News in an Age of Migration

What does local news look like for Latino poultry laborers who have recently made Indiana their home? How can we address growing news deserts in immigrant communities? What can all newsrooms learn by partnering with ethnic media? Local and national news organization have to grapple with these questions if we are to truly rebuild and strengthen reporting that serves all people in our communities. But too often these voices are left out of our discussions, our conferences, our industry coverage. This week we shine a spotlight on some examples, research and resources on these topics. Do you have examples from your community or newsroom you want to share? Just reply and send them our way.

Five Ways to Think About Ads

Here at the Local Fix we are constantly examining new revenue models for news, but we also understand that advertising still plays a huge role in most newsrooms’ bottom line. There is no reason why ads can’t be part of a diverse business model. So occasionally we try to surface key articles on overarching trends in advertising and tips for how small newsrooms can make the most of ads (even while they experiment with other revenue streams).

Local Investigative Reporting Matters

As we mentioned above, we’ll be hanging around next week meeting and talking with people working in local news at INN, LION, and IRE. We’re happy to be able to support the reporters behind the newsletter “Local Matters,” which curates local watchdog reporting, to attend IRE, too. (Subscribe!) Local investigative reporting matters, and there are many ways reporters are approaching it in their communities, from collaboration around huge voting events, to starting up their own news outlets. There are also unique challenges local investigations face, shown in a great article about the Pinckneyville Press from CJR this week. These are just a few articles highlighting the many facets of local investigative reporting.

Have a good weekend, and see you in Phoenix,

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.
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