A project of Democracy Fund

July 31, 2020

Local Fix: Peace, Parents, Prizes, and OOO

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: Moments of Peace
Something your readers, listeners and watchers could probably use right now? A moment of peace. Some public radio stations and programs have found ways to do that by breaking up their daily coverage with quick moments of quiet. Having moments of silence in radio may feel strange, but the result is a series of stress-reducing segments that keeps listeners engaged and more likely to continue listening. Alison Stewart whose culture show All Of It added the meditation segment “I Need a Minute” told Nieman Lab that there’s value in “small rituals in this time,” because they give listeners a sense of connection. Who couldn’t use a moment like that? Get some inspiration here. 

Back to…?

Often when we write about back to school here on the Local Fix, we are sharing examples of interesting work happening at journalism schools and innovative efforts led by student reporters. But right now at a lot of newsrooms all over the country parents are waiting to hear what their local schools’ fall plans will look like. Many of those journalists are also covering their community’s COVID response and ongoing debates about school openings. These are decisions that will profoundly affect their jobs, their newsrooms, and their families. A lot has been written about the impact of COVID on newsrooms, but it is important to acknowledge the profound challenges facing parents working in newsrooms, who are navigating these complex choices inside and outside of work. Even before COVID, newsrooms have not been the most family friendly workplaces, especially for mothers. Maybe the COVID experience will create an opening for rethinking the way these institutions support families. But we know that hope doesn’t do much for the local journalists, and all parents in the communities they report on, who are trying to figure out how to care for their families right now and are left with no good options. We are so grateful for your service to your communities and we know you’re not ok right now. Here are some articles that expand on this, including a few tips for managing the anxiety you’re feeling, and other experiences working journalists have shared over the past few months:

Apply for These Things

It can be hard to keep track of various funding, training, and job opportunities. Occasionally, we curate a few to help out and to spread the word. This week we have some awards, virtual fellowships, startup jobs, and an internship with Democracy Fund which includes writing the Local Fix with us. As always, send links our way for us to consider including in future newsletters. Good luck!


We know what’s coming when we hit send today: a lot of out of “office” messages. So we’re keeping it a little short today, and re-sharing some away message resources we’ve linked to in the past. Use this advice, or this fun OOO generator to let folks know you’re not at your computer. We hope you get to use this and get some time off, soon.

Have a good weekend,
Christine, Dani, Teresa, and Josh

The Local Fix is a project of the Democracy Fund’s Public Square Program, which supports promising new experiments redefining the public square in ways that make it more digital, participatory, and inclusive. 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. Follow us on Twitter at @TheLocalNewsLab.