A project of Democracy Fund

May 18, 2018

Local Fix: Localize, GDPR, Royal Wedding

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: Campus Correspondents
This week, Texas Tribune launched a Facebook group to talk about higher education news. The group is following lessons from the Tribune’s first successful Facebook group, and using the platform to start conversations about college affordability, especially with the community most affected by the issue, college students themselves. The Tribune is also inviting college journalists to participate in the community. Want to learn more about benefits and challenges of setting up Facebook groups for reporting projects? Better News has links to several case studies. 

Localizing National Stories 

The concept of localizing national stories isn’t a new one, but it is a skill to make it a truly useful practice and find stories that are the right fit. The Center for Cooperative Media launched a newsletter this month that will help with that: showcasing stories that have clear local angles, alongside tips for covering them. One thing to watch out for, as Steve Buttry pointed out in 2016, is overusing localization and not doing it well. It’s one tool, but it can be off-putting for  your audience if you try to stretch it too far. Below we’ve shared a few more resources on how to take on localization, including localizing data sets and reporting project models. Dive in and, as always, share other resources you have with us on the topic to localnewslab@democracyfund.org 

What the Heck is GDPR?

Six months ago, Melody Kramer warned US publishers about the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation. Next week this regulation goes into effect. If you have been getting a ton of emails from companies about their privacy policies over the last weeks, this is why. This week we’re pulling together some last minute links to help you understand why an EU regulation has influence on US media and what you should be thinking about moving forward.

Royal Wedding 

Speaking of localizing national stories, how about an international one? We leave you today with something a little lighter: the royal wedding (lowercase r, lowercase w, according to AP Style). While it’s probably a stretch for your local news outlet to cover it much, if at all, there are always lessons from major cultural events that can be tweaked for your own future work. What resonates with audiences? What are some creative, innovative ways news outlets are covering it when so many others are covering the same thing? How can you have fun with your community? You may not be going all in on the Markle madness, but you can get some inspiration from this coverage for your next local event: from unique strategies such as the New York Times’ constantly updated FAQ, various viewing parties, to online caption contests. Have some fun exploring.

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.