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November 25, 2016

Giving Thanks for Good Journalism

thanks written in the sky

Each week the Local Fix newsletter explores key debates in journalism sustainability, innovation and community engagement through the lens of local news. Teresa Gorman and I asked our readers who they were thankful for and the response was remarkable. Some people chose to thank their colleague across the hall, while others gave thanks to reporters across the country. Many of the messages we received were personal testimonials about people who have inspired or mentored them. Others were celebrations of journalists who are fiercely committed to their communities.

Together, all the messages collected below are a reminder of the amazing work happening every day in newsrooms and neighborhoods.

Laurie Putnam, San Jose State University School of Information:
“I will always be grateful for the work of Gwen Ifill. ‘By nature, I am someone who hews to the middle,’ Ifill once wrote. ‘I need to hear all sides of a story. I pride myself on considering that someone else may have a better point. Unless I am engaged in a tough round of dominoes or Scrabble, I think of myself as unreasonably reasonable.’ She was a rare gem.”

Sally Lehrman, @journethics:
“Maynard Institute for Journalism Education @TeamMije, Jane Kay, environmental reporter; I.F. Stone”

S.P. Sullivan, NJ Advance Media
“I am thankful for my colleague Mark Mueller. Mark has uncovered corruption in police departments and sexual abuse in schools and churches, sparking several criminal investigations into wrongdoing by shining light in dark places. More importantly, he does this difficult work with a sensitivity to survivors and victims that empowers and never exploits. He is also a mentor to others in the newsroom, always more than happy to read a draft or provide counsel on tough stories. I sat at the desk next to his for a year, and it was better than getting a master’s degree.”

Jessica Clark, Dot Connector Studio:
“The Philadelphia Weekly, which recently relaunched with a new design, new editor and publisher, and actual relevant news!”

Sarah McCammon, NPR
I’m thankful for the journalists at NPR stations all over the country who dedicate their lives to covering their communities — often doing amazing work with limited resources. From the local hosts who get up early or stay at work late into the evening to write newscasts, book interviews, and check weather conditions; to the talk show producers and hosts who spend their days introducing listeners to interesting and important voices; to the reporters, editors, and news directors who get to know their communities deeply and are there, on the ground, when big news breaks. You’re all a crucial part of what makes public radio such a trusted companion and news source for so many.

Andrew Losowsky, The Coral Project:
Thank you to all the editors and comment moderators who work so hard on the front lines of audience engagement.

Jo Ellen Green Kaiser, Executive Director, The Media Consortium:
“I’m really thankful to the volunteer reporters at Hoodline, who bring me news of my San Francisco neighborhood — news no one else delivers.”

Jane Elizabeth, Senior Manager, Accountability Journalism Program, American Press Institute:
“This is a great opportunity to recognize an unsung hero in the fact-checking world, especially during the 2016 elections. Ballotpedia’s “Verbatim” fact-checking project has jumped in to fact-check claims and issues in local and state elections, particularly in regions where there’s a deficit in this kind of accountability journalism (certainly due in part to staff cuts at local news outlets). Here’s where you can find their work.”

Chris Faraone, Director of Editorial, Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism:
“Al Giordano (@AlGiordano) and all the other alt media trailblazers who stayed true to their roots.”

Gene Park, Washington Post:
“As a still-new Washington, D.C. resident, I’m grateful for the Capital Weather Gang. From afar in Hawaii, where the forecast is almost always perfect, I still followed the Gang with great interest because I was fascinated at how they’ve cultivated a community of other like-minded weather geeks (and just local residents) through conversation, responses through comments, tweet replies, retweets, in-person meetups and other forms of engagement. Just this month they have a contest on guessing how much snow D.C. will get. They are relentless not only in their comprehensive coverage of the D.C. region’s erratic weather, but in their commitment to an ongoing conversation with readers.”

photo by Bill Smith, used via creative commons

Lisa Williams, @lisawilliams:
“Michelle Johnson of Boston University, who I think is the smartest, most pragmatic j-school professor. She teaches stuff that will actually give her students a shot at working in the field instead of as a barista. And… She knows that objectivity does not mean stenography.”

Bill Mitchell, Co-Founder, Detroit143:
“Thanks for this opportunity to appreciate the work of our friend Cristela Guerra. As important as national and international reporting is these days, Cristela’s work for the metro staff of The Boston Globe is a great reminder that some of the most important news happens close to home. A recent example: Careful reporting & nice writing elevating a fairly routine account of homeless Bostonians getting a roof over their heads, setting the stage for reader comments that advance the story as opposed to swapping snark.”

Brian Moritz, ‏@bpmoritz:
“I’m thankful for my journalism students @sunyoswego who fill me with hope for the future.”

Kelsey Proud, Managing Editor, Digital, WAMU 88.5 in Washington, D.C.:
“Writing a note to say I’m thankful for Nathan Lawrence at KBIA in Columbia, Mo. Nathan is working at a smaller station but he’s always thinking big, and broad. He’s consistently great at finding unique and journalistically sound solutions to technical issues facing local public media stations — and he shares and shows his work for all of them. That combination of excellent skill and giving spirit represents the best of what public media should be.”

Sabrina Hersi Issa, Be Bold Media:
“I’m grateful for Ricardo Pimentel from the San Antonio Express-News and his colleagues who made up the training faculty at the Association of Opinion Journalists for leading, stewarding and investing in the talent of young, diverse opinion writers of color. Thank you for encouraging all of us to unapologetically use our voices to shine light on the truth.

“I’m also grateful for the work of Rebecca Ruiz of Mashable and Katie Hawkins-Gaar of Poynter for their work in collecting data and exploring the question: “what if we surveyed journalists and asked about family-friendly policies in their workplaces? What would we learn?” You can support this leadership and take the survey about your newsroom here.”

Ellen Mayer, @EllenRebeccaM:
“Grateful for Cathy DuChamp and all the great folks at KUOW! Also for @shawnallee at WBEZ. A remarkable editor and ever thoughtful about his responsibility to the audience.”

Rekha Murthy:
“Steve Annear stands out to me. I know him mostly from his Twitter feed. He seems to get out and around the region, reporting on stories that matter locally, and being there when few other journalists seem to be — even, amazingly, the night of the big post-election protests in Boston. I also very much appreciate what Jason Pramas and Chris Faraone are doing with BINJ.”

Adriana Gallardo, ‏@otraletra:
“Im thankful for @illxica who never runs out of vision & energy to sustain @Vocalo & the communities it reps in Chicago”

Betsy O’Donovan, Executive Director, The Daily Tar Heel:
“Hugh Stevens and Amanda Martin, two of the foremost media law practitioners in the country and regular savers-of-bacon for small media around North Carolina. They quash subpoenas, advise on FOIA requests, and solve all kinds of trouble while ferociously advocating for the free, local press. They’re also the editors of the NC Media Law Handbook, which is a wonderful tool.

“Victoria Bouloubasis, the food editor at Indy Week in Durham, who regularly uses her beat to examine community issues around labor, race and poverty. Joan van Kampen, managing editor of The North Platte Telegraph in western Nebraska. Joan (who is a stellar editor who worked at The Omaha World-Herald for YEARS) did what a lot of journalists seem scared to do: gave up the well-funded city job to move to a rural community at a small circulation paper and maintains high expectations for what a community paper is and should be.

“And, of course Jane Wester, college senior and editor-in-chief at The Daily Tar Heel, who’s leading a newsroom (and a statewide coalition of professional news orgs) that is suing University of North Carolina in order to open the records of all people found responsible of sexual assault by the university. It’s a national problem (John Krakauer just wrote about it in Montana), and Jane’s leading a very smart, sustained investigation.”

Hanna Nabila ‏@itsmisshanna:
“I’m thankful for Celeste Headlee. She share knowledge, listen & one of the reasons why I’d like to be a good journalist”

Monica Guzman, The Evergrey:
“I am grateful for Jennifer Brandel, who works so hard to help the public claim its rightful place at the heart of everything journalists do. I’m grateful for Tracy Record of The West Seattle Blog, who serves her community with this iron dedication as a matter of course, not because it’s something to try but because it’s what people need. I’m grateful for Emily Ramshaw, who’s making the Texas Tribune even more of a pioneer than it already was, constantly reinventing it to better suit the people it serves.”

Susan Valot, ‏@susanvalot:
“I’m thankful for editors who make my work shine, without robbing it of my voice!”

photo by Orin Zebest, used via creative commons

Hearken, ‏@wearehearken:
“We’re thankful for all the journalists in our partner newsrooms who are changing journalism to value audience curiosity and listening.”

“I’d like to thank @onthemedia, @OTMBrooke & @Bobosphere for showing me the truth behind the BS.”

Amy Phee, ‏@amyphee:
“Nate Rau @tnnaterau has been doing great investigative work in Nashville. Thankful for him!”

Sherry Stern, ‏@sherrystern:
“I’m thankful for Brian Stelter

Gabriela, ‏@Gabi63:
“Thankful 4 @nycjim Best curator of general news on TW & 4 @pdacosta Best curator of financial news on TW”

Michael, ‏@Michael2014abc:
“I’m thankful for @PamelaBrownCNN. I really love her journalism, reporting style.”

Jenny McNabb, ‏@mcnabb_jenny:
“David fahrenthold, Matthew Pearce, sopan deb, kfile andrew, Maggie at nyt”

“Thankful for @WPXI and @WTAE for inspiring me to become a journalist, even tho I’m not in broadcast.”

Marissa Villa, ‏@mvilla822:
“Grateful for @Daily_Dos who taught me the value of being concise, is forever my grammar guru and my friend.”

Stacia l. Brown, ‏@slb79:
“@nhannahjones, @jennydeluxe @jbouie @byjoelanderson @jdesmondharris @justin_fenton @justingeorge @EricaLG @Yamiche”

Kristen Rev, ‏@kristenrevv:
“Thankful for podcasts 1. @maddow 2. @brianbeutler 3. @jacobwe 4. @mikiebarb 5. @ezraklein Inners pod,please @chrislhayes”

“My choices @JoyAnnReid, @kurteichenwald, @Fahrenthold, @KatyTurNBC, @KeithOlbermannm, @ananavarro, @soledadobrien”

“@SopanDeb Trump campaign embed for CBS.Tweeted transcripts, play by play of Trump and audience, 2nd to none.”

Emma Mackintosh ‏@NewsMackintosh
“It’s got to be @marincogan!”

Lyn-Yi, @lynzengCNA:
“Thanks for team players.”

“Thankful for @kurteichenwald @anamariecox @Fahrenthold @Patbagley”

“#Thankful for @tomashbrooknpr Pushes boundaries while always remaining compassionate #BostonStrong”

Jeff Cunningham ‏@cunninghamjeff:
“Charles Krauthammer; Jake Tapper; Walter Cronkite for setting the standard.”

E Sunny Cadwallader ‏@CadChica:
“My #journalismthanks @dp700espn, @PaolaBoivin, @RomeroJoseM, @ShadowLeagueTSL, @BaxFootballGuru, @tombuchheim”

Maria Langer, ‏@mlanger:
“I am thankful for any journalist who puts TRUTH before page hits and advertising revenue.”

Silvia Rivera, @illxica:
“Thankful for the awesome company I keep! My sanity check homie and pubmedia rockstar.”

Dan Turner, @ddt:
“Charlie Pierce’s Politics column. The Guardian’s video series in America.”

“NOT A COMPLETE LIST: @JamilahLemieux @Blackamazon @errollouis @rolandsmartin @ggreenwald @WesleyLowery Sarah Kendzior @SanaSaeed @ASE”

Will Wright ‏@WrightsWords
“I’m grateful for @BernardShaw @GwenIfill Terry Gross and others whose names elude me.”

Ellen Goodman, @ellgood
“I’m thankful for Julia Angwin @maggieNYT David remnick @mattkatz00”

Berkleyside, @berkleyside:
“Bill MacFadyen at @Noozhawk for being a model and friend for @berkeleyside in local news biz!”

NAMLE, @medialiteracyed:
“We ❤ so many! @PaigeA @kmariemoffitt @stlpublicradio @kellywallacetv Brian Stelter @paulgreeley @blowryontv many more!”

Feature photo by mia.judkins/Creative Commons

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This post originally appeared on Medium.