A project of Democracy Fund

June 21, 2019

Local Fix: Latino Media Summit, Slide Decks, Vacation

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: Phone a (Data) Friend

A recent dispatch from Melanie Sill’s NC Local newsletter highlighted how collaboration helped a small newsroom pull off an ambitious investigative project with data. WFDD public radio in Winston-Salem teamed up with the UNC Media & Journalism school’s Carolina Data Desk, Wake Forest University’s journalism department, and independent journalist Mandy Locke to report a data-driven series on high eviction rates in low-income communities. They were inspired by and worked with national data sets including Reveal’s census-driven map of “modern-day redlining” and Princeton University’s Eviction Lab. How did it all get started? With Locke and WFDD News Director Emily McCord meeting in a lunch line at a conference. Take inspiration from WFDD and start building relationships with data folks through your local journalism organization and nearby colleges and universities. Who knows what will happen. For more inspiring stories about local journalism in NC, along with actionable tips for reporters, editors and entrepreneurs, check out NC Local.

Building up Latino and Hispanic Media

Today is the first day of the Latino Media Summit hosted by the Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY. Journalists, media leaders, entrepreneurs and thinkers will tackle themes like sustainability for Spanish-language newsrooms, innovations in engagement to connect with bilingual audiences and responsible coverage of issues like the census and the 2020 election. Given the number of Latinos in the United States (nearly 59 million, or 18 percent of the United States population), the growing attacks on this community and the sheer diversity within it, it has never been more critical to ensure that there are news outlets meeting their information needs. And although local Spanish-language media is in the midst of a boom according to some metrics, there are major challenges to long-term flourishing, like sustainable funding and a lack of data. As Dr. Jessica Retis of California State Northridge writes in a recent report commissioned by Democracy Fund, “Hispanic Media Today,” “…There is limited archiving of Spanish-language media in almost any format, and there are few resources for even knowing how many Hispanic media outlets there are and what the true reach of Spanish-language media is.” That’s why we’re excited to see the launch of CUNY’s own interactive site, State of the Latino News Media, which synthesizes research on the industry and features a map of existing Latino outlets (along with a survey for readers to flag outlets the researchers missed). This is a huge step towards building a data bank to better understand, and consequently better support, the Latino media landscape in the United States. If you weren’t able to make it to New York for the Summit, you can follow along on Twitter by searching #LMS19. 

Make a Better Slide Deck

Inspired by a tweet from Trusting News Director Joy Mayer about the overabundance of bad slide decks and, on the flip side, a Twitter thread from Josh about slides that have caught his eye at recent conferences, we’re sharing some resources on how to make that next deck a little better. Having professional design help is ideal, but when you don’t, these tips can get you started. First off, remember that the slides are not the presentation – you are. Use slides to help you tell your story, rather than simply reading from them. We recently learned from Stephanie Chan, who coaches on presentations, about phrases you should never find yourself saying: “You can’t read this, but…”, “You can’t see this that well, but…”, or, “This next section is going to be really data-heavy/technical/boring, so bear with me…” Has anyone ever perked up in their seat upon hearing one of these phrases? We’d add to Chan’s list, “Oh, these are the wrong slides but..”, “Want to take a minute to read the slide?” and “Haha, I just did these last night” (No judgement, we’ve all been there). Effective slides use big font, few words, clear and compelling pictures and a story framework to get your point across. Want some inspiration? Some folks we’ve seen recently at conferences or online who have great slides include City BureauHearken, and Heather Bryant. For a lighter example, check out how a couple kids from Tennessee used slides to convince their parents to buy a puppy. They had a strategy, fun pictures and a clear story to tell. For more ideas, check out product strategist Erica McGillivray’s “7 Dead Simple” tricks, like creating an outline and ditching the “About Me” slide, plus links to even more resources. Finally, every person we’ve read or heard from on this topic has mentioned Nancy Duarte’s books, Resonate and Slideology. Check them out below:

This Has Nothing to Do With Journalism

Happy first day of summer! It is the perfect day for our regular reminder to take a break from the crunch of deadlines and take care of yourself. Last year, we shared a look at what some of the Local Fix team had been doing to wind down, along with a reminder about why vacation is important.  This year we thought it would be fun to open it up beyond the Local Fix crew and share how some of our Democracy Fund coworkers are relaxing this summer. Got recommendations to share with the Local Fix community? Reply to this email or tweet to @thelocalnewslab. We may share them in future newsletters.

  • Learn with Chuck D: Tom Glaisyer says go listen to this Spotify podcast about the story of the Clash, expertly narrated by Chuck D.   
  • Dance with Beyoncé: Adele Cameron will be dancing to “Before I Let Go” at her cookouts this summer. 
  • Watch something good: Hugo Castro will be posting up with some popcorn and Birds of Passage/Pajaros de Verano
  • Talk to a lamp: Joe Goldman recommends “Everything is Alive,” a podcast where the interview subjects are inanimate objects.
  • Eat something good: Rebecca Stewart says to read Samin Nosrat’s Salt Fat Acid Heat, with the Netflix show on in the background. Then, make something delicious for friends and family.

Have a good weekend,

Josh, Teresa, Lea and Kip

@jcstearns, @gteresa, @kdooley1

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.