We're Closing the Lab as of March 1, 2023
Democracy Fund is archiving the Local News Lab after nine years of learning from creative experiments in journalism sustainability. We're no longer updating this site but it will still be available, and we're continuing to support the future of local news through local news ecosystems, infrastructure for the field, and more. Local journalism has grown and evolved immensely in the time the Lab has been around, and we're excited to double down on some of the solutions we’ve identified. Check out our website for the latest on our work.
Local News Lab

A project of Democracy Fund

A project of Democracy Fund

Welcome to the Lab

The Local News Lab was dedicated to creative experiments in journalism sustainability. We believe the future of local news depends on creating new kinds of collaboration between journalists, newsrooms, and communities. The Lab was a project of Democracy Fund starting in 2014, and was archived in 2023 as we focus on our new program strategy.

June 20, 2018

How we know journalism is good for democracy

Updated September 2022: This research review has become a critical guide for funders, policymakers, communities, and journalists who care about creating a healthier democracy.

Let The Lab Guide You.

Here at the Lab we experimented with new models of collaboration, community engagement, and sustainability. To share what we learned, we created a set of lab reports that are packed with ideas and practical tools for local newsrooms. These are not regularly updated but are still full of useful information.

See all guides
  • Ecosystems Toolkit

    A Guide to Assessing Your Local News Ecosystem By Teresa…

    Read the guide
  • Start-up Guide

    For Profit, Nonprofit and Beyond: Considerations for Media Start-ups By…

    Read the guide
  • Focus Groups Guide

    Conducting Focus Groups to Understand Local News Audiences By Jessica…

    Read the guide
  • Events Guide

    Journalism Live: How News Events Foster Engagement and Expand Revenue…

    Read the guide
  • Newsletters Guide

    Newsletters as News Products: A Guide for Local Newsrooms…

    Read the guide
  • Crowdfunding Guide

    Lessons on Building Lasting Revenue and Relationships through Crowdfunding Campaigns…

    Read the guide