A project of Democracy Fund


The Local News Lab is a testing ground for the future of local journalism that supports people and their efforts to experiment with new ways of reporting, engaging communities, and sustaining news organizations of all sizes.

We believe local news is a critical space for innovation, creativity, and community.

The Lab was originally launched by the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation to document and share their work building a more connected and collaborative news ecosystem in New Jersey.

In 2016, the Lab relaunched at Democracy Fund, one of the supporters of Dodge’s work on local news. Democracy Fund is a bipartisan foundation established by eBay founder and philanthropist Pierre Omidyar to help ensure that the American people come first in our democracy. We do that by supporting more effective governance, modern election systems, and a vibrant media and a stronger public square.

Today the Local News Lab is managed by Democracy Fund’s Public Square Program, and we continue to partner with the Dodge Foundation and Knight Foundation.

Together, we want all local residents to have easy access to trustworthy, relevant, and abundant news and information. We believe that a highly-informed and highly-engaged citizenry is the foundation for a robust democracy and for healthy communities.

Here at the Lab, we’ll highlight and report on experiments in local news, mull over challenges, and share the models and materials that practitioners and communities will find useful. We’ll also take the lessons from national debates about the future of news and distill them down for the local news context.

We’ll share our experiments, and want you to share yours, too, so that other communities can build on them. We invite you to send us your work, and share your questions.



Josh Stearns, Teresa Gorman, and Democracy Fund’s Public Square team

Find out more about Democracy Fund at DemocracyFund.org. Contact us here.


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