A project of Democracy Fund

October 28, 2016

Local Fix: Email Subpoenas, Making the Case for News, Mental Health in Newsrooms

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: “Dance like nobody is watching, but email like it may one day be subpoenaed and read aloud in a deposition.”

That was the advice of USA Today correspondent Trevor Hughes, discussing a recently decided case in which a North Carolina jury “awarded nearly $6 million in libel verdicts against The Raleigh News & Observer and one of its reporters.” Corey Hutchins has a good breakdown of the case in the Columbia Journalism Review where he discusses the case’s possible implications for how journalists, sources and staff communicate.

How To Make the Case for People to Support Journalism

Increasingly, as we ask people to support our work (through donations, memberships, events, foundations, etc…), we need to think about how to articulate our value to people and to society. Each of the blog posts below discuss very different ways to make the case for why people should support the work we do. 

Solving User Problems with Product Thinking

One of the big shifts in journalism has been from thinking about news as a product to news as a service. However, that shift has also led newsrooms to rethink the products they create to serve communities. In a post this week, Damon Kiesow (head of product  for McClatchy) wrote that as an industry “we failed at some basic digital blocking and tackling” in large part because of “a lack of systems thinking in our strategies.” Kiesow’s analysis stuck out to me because systems thinking is at  the heart of the work we are doing with local journalists here at the Democracy Fund. Kiesow’s post was the most recent in a series of useful posts focused on helping newsrooms bring new kinds of thinking to how they adapt to the digital age. 

Mental Health and the Newsroom

When I talk about journalism sustainability I’m not just talking about new revenue models and business strategies, I’m also concerned with how journalists themselves are finding balance and sustainability in their lives. We often don’t address these issues head-on, and I know a lot of journalists who have struggled in silence unbeknownst to their colleagues and friends. Journalists regularly ask me for resources on issues of mental health, balance, and burnout.  The posts below are a mix of personal stories and useful links for people and newsrooms to support each other. 

 Have a good weekend,

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.