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March 17, 2017

Local Fix: Spread Truth, Tips for Transparency, and Filter Bubbles

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: Give Truth a Fighting Chance
This week we launched a new fund to support projects working to fight misinformation and make truthful reporting spread further and stick better. The deadline for ideas is April 3 and we want to make sure we hear from small newsrooms in diverse communities across the nation. Read more about the project and our partners Knight Foundation and Rita Allen Foundation.

Your List of Awesome Women Working in Local News

At the core of all of the things we talk about here on the Local Fix are the people making it all happen. In November, we asked Local Fix readers to share who they are thankful for as one way to highlight and recognize some of those people. Last week, in honor of International Women’s Day (and inspired by a Twitter thread from The New York Times’ Nikole Hannah-Jones), we asked Local Fix readers to again share names, this time of women they admire working in local news. In no way is this an exhaustive list, but just a sampling of the many, many women working to make local news stronger.


When Jenn Brandel launched Curious City in Chicago, a project she’d eventually spin off into the community engagement company Hearken, she and her team used Tumblr to share her reporting in process. They posted clips of interviews, interesting observations, questions, photos, etc… so people could see how the story is coming together. And people would respond with new ideas and tips and feedback, strengthening the eventual story and building buy-in and trust from the audience. Now Brandel and her team are building a new tool for newsrooms to build on that idea. Below is a link to their announcement and a few more good reflections on the role of transparency.

Burst Your Bubble

We’ve been watching an interesting series of experiments from local and national newsrooms who are trying to use the tools of journalism as a counterweight to the geographic and technological filer bubbles that surround us. For some local newsrooms this has meant convening face-to-face discussions, while national newsrooms are testing curation and widgets to surface diverse perspectives. The ideas below could be prototyped in your area pretty easily and at low cost, and we bet many of you are already testing other great ideas. Send us your stories!

Local News Lab Link of the Week

Our new site is full of practical advice, tools and tips. For a few weeks, we’ll highlight some of them here on the Local Fix. This week, we recommend Molly de Aguiar’s 20 point plan to spark successful innovation locally.  Send us your feedback and ideas for other resources that you would find useful on the Lab at localnewslab@democracyfund.org.

Have a good weekend
Josh and Teresa
@jcstearns, @gteresa

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.