A project of Democracy Fund

August 4, 2017

Local Fix: Mothers, Press Freedom, and Podcasting


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: Be Useful and Delightful
Denverite, a digital-only local news site in Denver, recently celebrated their one-year anniversary. An article in Journalism.co.uk shares some of the things they’ve learned, from what time to send newsletters, to how important it is to have in person events. It’s full of useful tips, and a reminder how important it is to take the time to learn from your experiments and work – and to set aside the time to do so (even if you’re not being interviewed for an article.)

Parenting, Journalism, and Engagement 👶🏽

Two stories came across our desk this week that caught our attention. Both were at the intersection of journalism and parenting, but in very different ways. A cover story in Nieman Reports by Katherine Goldstein takes a long look at how newsrooms do – and don’t – support parental and maternity leave policies. Separately, we learned about a small local newsroom in Ohio, Richland Source, that is building on its in-depth reporting on infant mortality through community engagement and solutions journalism. All this comes just a few weeks after ProPublica produced a profoundly important series on maternal mortality in the US, in part through partnering with their community. These stories are all important for different reasons, they raise questions about whose stories get told, how to rethink reporting on tough local issues, and how we make media that becomes a part of people’s daily lives, while also creating newsrooms that are open to the diverse lives and families of journalists.

Freedom of the Press 🛡

Have you encountered or heard about a press freedom incident in your area? Submit it to the new U.S. Press Freedom Tracker. More than 20 press freedom groups have partnered up to create the resource to “document press freedom violations in the United States committed by national, state, and local authorities, as well as by private individuals. These include: journalist arrests, assaults, border stops, camera and equipment seizures, surveillance orders, subpoenas, and more.” Here are a few stories about groups that help provide that protection:

Podcast With Me 🎙

Could the rise in new talent coming to news through podcasts help journalism become more diverse, especially in radio? An article in Mashable this week tackled that question, with many of the voices from some of the most popular new podcasts out there right now, from NPR’s Sam Sanders to Gimlet’s Brittany Luse. It’s not a new question, but remains a critical one for those of us who care about whose voices get heard as new technology opens up new possibilities. Below we’ve rounded up some good examples from a new newsletter about podcasts from “flyover country,” and a bilingual podcast ¿Qué Pasa, Midwest?.
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.