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September 1, 2017

Local Fix: Secrets, Sustainability, and Sources


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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: “The Internet hates secrets.”
This collaboration between New Orleans news outlets and Clear Health Costs combined data, investigation, crowdsourcing, explainers, and more to help bring transparency to health costs in the city. The response was huge. It’s a great example of what can happen when organizations pair up for the good of their communities.

May the Source be With You

Earlier this year, producers at a talk show in Kansas City did an overview of the sources they had on their air, and shared the results. An audit like this can provide a much needed gut check for who is being quoted and represented in news stories, and who is not. While you think about doing an audit of your own stories, there are plenty of resources out there to help you find new voices and sources. Here are a few:

Getting Real

We love local news here at the Local Fix, and a lot of what we do is to spotlight incredible work happening in newsrooms across the country. But our concern for local news is rooted in the very real impact it has on people’s lives and sometimes we know that impact isn’t always positive. If we want to create better, stronger local news we also have to be upfront about where local news gets it wrong. The posts below focus primarily on how local journalists cover crime, and the impact the choices we make can have on individuals and communities. We may not agree with everything here, but we do think there are important points of view that are worth considering and discussing. Send us a note and let us know what these stories prompt for you, or how you have grappled with these issues in your newsroom.

A Hidden Resource for Journalism Sustainability

Outside of public broadcasting a lot of people may not have heard of Greater Public, an organization that “inspires and empowers public media organizations to advance their missions by ensuring a sustainable financial future.” But for those in journalism who care about the business side of media and especially those working to expand community support of local news, the Greater Public blog can be a great resource. Below we’ve pulled out five posts from their blog that we think could be useful for digital, print or broadcast newsrooms.
Have a good weekend,
Josh and Teresa
@jcstearns, @gteresa