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June 30, 2017

Local Fix: Postcards and Profit

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: Five Good Ideas from Local TV  📺
The Reinventing Local TV News Project highlighted five trends from the 2017 Edward R. Murrow Awards that they think are worth investing in and expanding. The ideas — almost all of which came from local stations — represent an array of storytelling strategies and digital tactics for expanding the impact of local news.

Learn From the Best: Interview Edition

Need some inspiration? How about the sweet meta sounds of an interviewer interviewing other interviewers about… interviewing. If that sounds good, then go check out the new podcast The Turnaround. (Seriously, we love this stuff.) 🗣  How we ask questions, listen carefully, enter into a dialogue where things are not just said, but revealed is one of journalists’ super powers. If you want to brush up on your skills here are some great lessons and ideas:

“You don’t get to do your mission if you don’t have money to do it.”

INN members heard this while in a training with INN Director of Programs and Services Fran Scarlett last week in Phoenix. 💰 It really stuck with us as yet another reminder of how important it is to equip more people working in journalism with expertise around sustainability and business practices. The same week, an article in Poynter talked to journalists who had started independent news sites that eventually shut down. North Carolina journalist David Boraks put it well when he said “As a long-time journalist, a strong, accurate, timely, compelling news site was not the hard part. The hard part was running the business.” Here are a few resources on how newsrooms are seeking sustainability.

Send Us a Postcard

A postcard is deceptively simple. But that little piece of paper can help you find stories, connect with your community, and share information to those that really need it. The postcard has been used in the below projects for everything from sharing someone’s deepest secrets to distributing vital information about pesticides. Tucson’s public radio station even partnered with a local artist to create customized mailboxes for community members to drop their story postcards into. Don’t forget these types of physical tools when you’re brainstorming for your next reporting project. 💌  (FWIW – If you want to send us a postcard our address is at the bottom of this email. We promise to write back.)
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.