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August 31, 2017

Local Fix: Grow Your Revenue, Harvey, and Engagement Checklist

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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: How to Introduce Engagement Efforts into Your Newsroom
Who doesn’t love a checklist? Use this printable checklist and guide from Hearken to plan engagement efforts, and figure out how to bring your newsrooms colleagues along for the ride.

The Importance of Local News

Reporters are still out doing the work covering Harvey and the aftermath, and will be doing so for a long time. The disaster showcased again the need for a strong local press, and that reporters are humans, too. There are important things to remember when continuing to cover Harvey (see when to use the word ‘looting’ 😤 ), and there will be further lessons to learn in the future. Plus, what can be done to sustain this needed reporting, Melanie Sill, a vet of covering several hurricanes in North Carolina, asks? That and more in the links this week:

Three Ideas for Growing Your Revenue

From time to time we like to highlight bright spots in the news industry where people are figuring out how to transform their businesses and grow their revenue. This transformation work is hard and often means taking on old assumptions, letting go of old habits, and thinking in new ways about how you can serve communities and build different kinds of businesses around the skills your newsroom has. You’ll see that each of these newsrooms is taking very different paths to success, which is a reminder that there are few silver bullets and that strategies need to be tailored to your specific newsroom and community.

Alt-weeklies are Dead, Long Live Alt-weeklies

The Village Voice announced in August that it would be ending the print edition. The Baltimore City Paper is closing after 40 years serving the city. The Knoxville Mercury published it’s last issue July 20. So, is the alt-weekly industry dying? Not so fast. A Washington Post article did a good review of what we’d lose if we say goodbye to alt-weeklies. How can new business models ensure a future for alt-weeklies so we don’t have to say goodbye? Here are some attempts to answer that question
Have a good weekend,
Josh and Teresa
@jcstearns, @gteresaThe 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.