A project of Democracy Fund

April 5, 2019

Local Fix: Contribute to the Fix, Facts, Deadlines

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: Contribute to the Local Fix

Last year, we conducted a survey of Local Fix readers asking what you’d like to see more of in the newsletter. Several of you said that you’d like to see more voices represented. One way we do that is by asking our intern each semester to take a lead role in writing and editing this newsletter. And now, we’re adding another way to add voices – we’re asking for contributors. We want to know about what’s new, underreported or unexpected in the conversation about the current state of local journalism and its future. We are more interested in tools and tips than hot takes but we are passionate about lifting up important voices and perspectives on the issues facing local news. You can take a look at previous sections and good ideas on our Local News Lab site here. We will be accepting submissions on a rolling basis. Read more about what we’re looking for and how to contribute.  

Don’t Fight the Facts

International Fact Checking day was April 2 (the day after April Fools day – get it?). It’s a day for everyone, regardless of occupation or political affiliation, to support the institutions that uncover the truth in any situation. Good fact-checking exposes holes in government systems, adds crucial nuance to important issues and above all, makes sure that the public receives true information. New research is also raising questions about how fact checking works and dispelling some concerns about ideas that fact checking can backfire. In that spirit, we put together links to some inspiring fact-checking projects and resources by journalists from across the country. 

Let Community Be Your Guide

A Local Fix subscriber from ProPublica, Karim Doumar, sent us this story from Beena Raghavendran, an engagement specialist for ProPublica’s Local Reporting Network. In the piece Raghavendran offered some great tips on how to best use engagement to not only strengthen investigative reporting on the local level but foster a strong relationship with the communities you’re covering. In one case study she used social media and one-on-one interactions to solicit a Charleston, West Virginia community’s help in planning her reporting trip across the state. “The way I saw West Virginia was now in the hands of the community,” she wrote. And it worked–by the end of her trip, she’d received over 150 suggestions via social media and personally interacted with 60 West Virginians. So, when news broke about a major abuse of power involving the Mountain Valley pipeline that runs through West Virginia, ProPublica had a network of stateside sources to cover this important story. Here are a few more examples of people who have taken engagement out into the field:

Apply for Things

It’s hard to keep track of all of the different opportunities out there for journalists and news organizations, so occasionally we like to highlight upcoming deadlines in the Fix. From trainings for newsrooms, fellowships for executive leaders, to money for engagement or investigative reporting, there’s a lot out there to up your game. What other opportunities do you wish you could get support for from organizations like these? Our ears are always open – send your thoughts along by replying to this email.

Have a good weekend,
Josh, Teresa, and Maya
@jcstearns, @gteresa, @mayaaliah

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.