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September 8, 2017

Local Fix: Indian Country Today, Small Wins, Toolbox

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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: Check Before You Share
When natural disasters hit, social media is full of eyewitness videos. But a lot of the time the videos are fake or old. Before you share anything, use this handy checklist from First Draft News to verify and identify the who, where, when and why of any eyewitness video.

Stop with the Stereotypes

Indian Country Today announced that it would stop publishing this week. The loss of the national news site is a blow to nuanced coverage of indigenous peoples, Mary Annette Pember writes in CJR. “In our work, we depicted Indians as whole people, imbued with the same complex frailties and glories that define other races and ethnicities. And although we won lots of awards…it was always the work that sustained us. And that work greatly enriched the limited media coverage of Indian Country.” Below, we have a few stories with more about the loss and reflections on other coverage of Indian Country, as well as some advice about stereotypes to watch out for using a handy bingo board from NAJA and High Country News.

What Tools are in Your Toolbox?

These tools can help make life a little simpler, from making transcribing easier to helping verify if images are real.  Experiment and let us know if you have any favorites that we should feature in the future by emailing localnewslab@democracyfund.org.

‘Winning is a Habit’

If you’re ever taking on a big project, or trying to help change happen in some way in your organization, don’t underestimate the power of small wins. Small wins and the progress they show can counteract those stuck moments that lead to frustration and failure. Identify where you’ll have some small wins and how you’ll make sure others know about them, and your big undertaking will feel a little less daunting.

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.