March 23, 2018
Local Fix: A Rural Journalism Lab, An Entrepreneurial Spirit, A Model for Impact
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: Pick a Pitch
How do you ask your community for support? Public broadcasting has decades of experience and research that shapes how they pitch their membership programs to the public. The Membership Puzzle Project has released a new report that draws out lessons from public broadcasting that other newsrooms can use, and includes a database of 50 public radio stations’ membership pitches.
Rural Journalism Lab
Where does innovation in journalism happen? Too often the discussion about people who are building the future of journalism focuses on big newsrooms in coastal cities. However, in local newsrooms, journalism schools, libraries and civic organizations across America, people are testing new ideas for how to inform and engage communities. Sam Ford and Andrea Wenzel have spent the last year, listening, building relationships, and developing an exciting model for a “rural journalism lab” in Kentucky, which they wrote about for the Columbia Journalism Review. From Ohio to Oklahoma and New Mexico to North Carolina, journalists in rural communities are defining new kinds of resilience and storytelling that should be lifted up and shared.
- Sourcing innovation from a ‘rural journalism lab’ – Columbia Journalism Review
- Finding truth from the liars table in rural Kentucky – Columbia Journalism Review
- This blog is worth exploring to get better insight into rural journalism – Poynter
- Ryan and the late Larry Craig to share Al Smith Award for community journalism – The Logan Journal
Measure, Measure, Measure
Damon Kiesow recently wrote about rethinking Who, What, Why, Where, When (and How) of news products and audience centered reporting. He ended with a very relevant question “How are you measuring impact?” There is increasing emphasis on understanding how the work you are doing is working, and the impact it has on your community. But measuring the impact of journalism is a tricky task. Below are a few concrete examples of how newsrooms are thinking about tracking their impact and how that work can help them strengthen their reporting and serve their communities better.
- How WhereBy.Us Will Track Impact of Local Media – Mediashift
- How we’re measuring the success of Trusting News strategies – Joy Mayer
- How A Local Newsroom In Brazil Learned To Track Its Impact – Mediashift
- How a local paper built a tool to measure impact – Columbia Journalism Review
Start Your Own Thing
In an article in Curbed this week, Patrick Sisson wrote “there are signs that local journalism may be entering a new, less centralized, and increasingly entrepreneurial era.” The article outlines some examples of how news businesses are started, from Chicago’s civic journalism lab City Bureau to Whereby.us’s expansion to more cities across the country. We are glad to see local journalists pioneering new ideas, business skills, and defining a new entrepreneurial spirit that is rooted in service to communities. Intrigued and thinking about starting your own thing? Read some of the links below, and consider registering for this event in New Jersey April 6: Reader Revenue: Building a business with your audience at Center for Cooperative Media.
- Out of work after DNAinfo shutdown? Start your own news site – LION Publishers
- Local news is in trouble. Can new publications turn it around? – Curbed
- Whereby.Us adds two more cities to its growing roster – NiemanLab
- How 45 journalists started again, and built a profitable news business from scratch – Journalism.co.uk
Have a good weekend,
Josh and Teresa
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.