A project of Democracy Fund

May 4, 2018

Local Fix: Press Freedom, Mentorship, Newsletter Tips


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:  Press Freedom
In honor of World Press Freedom Day this week, PEN America and StoryCorps have been collecting stories from local communities that demonstrate how quality journalism creates powerful social change. Local newsrooms and audiences can upload stories to a special section of the StoryCorps archive. This could be a chance for your newsroom to revisit some of your stories, and the people who were most affected by them, in a way that lifts up the power of local reporting. You could feature them on your site, your subscription or donate page, or at your next event.  

Research Roundup: News Values and Noteworthiness

In the latest installment of Research Roundup on the Local News Lab, Jessica Mahone summarizes research on the role of news values in audience interest in news and audience sharing of news. In one of the studies featured in the post, the authors examined how valuable audiences view news using the concept of noteworthiness — relevance and interestingness to readers. Here are some highlights of what the authors found from a survey of 767 American adults: 

  • Local news is seen as more noteworthy — relevant and interesting — than national news. 
  • Women and those 55 and older are more likely to say news content is generally relevant to them. 
  • Noteworthy content offers a financial benefit: Finding content relevant and interesting was the strongest factor in whether or not respondents were willing to pay for print newspapers and was one of the top three factors in willingness to pay for online news content.

NC Local: Newsletter Tips

Are you thinking about starting an email newsletter or want to bring yours to the next level? Melanie Sill, a Democracy Fund Senior Consultant, recently launched NC Local, a weekly email newsletter and exchange on NC news and information. Sill shared the process she went through to start the project, the tips to read, and those that others in North Carolina shared. There are a lot of resources out there, but Sill’s will give you a great start.

Ladies Helping Ladies

We hear a lot about how important mentorship is for anyone in their career, but it can be especially important for women (this is Teresa speaking from personal experience here, hey!). But saying mentorship is important, and actually building relationships and using them wisely, is another story. We’ve shared resources to help you before, but this week a few new programs were announced that make a little bit easier. Check out the new site Digital Women Leaders, that can connect you to women leading the way in their respective media fields. If you work in public media, keep an eye on the Public Media Women in Leadership program. And don’t forget JAWS’, the Journalism and Women Symposium, mentorship program, too. 

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

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.