A project of Democracy Fund

December 11, 2020

Local Fix: NewsMatch, Holiday Reruns, and ❤️

Welcome to the Local Fix. Subscribe here to get these notes in your inbox every Friday.

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: Take a Breath. Take a Break.

Hi there, Local Fixers. Like we mentioned in our last newsletter, we’re still on a little bit of a hiatus for the rest of 2020. But we wanted to make sure to close out this year with you with a concept we shared around this time in 2019, from the Reverend Victoria Safford: “Our mission is to plant ourselves at the gates of Hope — not the prudent gates of Optimism, which are somewhat narrower; nor the stalwart, boring gates of Common Sense; nor the strident gates of Self-Righteousness, which creak on shrill and angry hinges; nor the cheerful, flimsy garden gate of ‘Everything is gonna be all right.’ But a different, sometimes lonely place, the place of truth-telling, about our own souls first of all, and their condition, the place of resistance and defiance, the piece of ground from which you see the world both as it is and as it could be, as it will be; the place from which you glimpse not only struggle, but joy in the struggle.” 

We’re right there with you. And we’ll keep going with you. See you in 2021.


Recently, Gather’s community manager Alisha Savson kicked off their newsletter with a reminder that celebration is an act of hope. We’ve seen many folks leaning into that theme of celebration and care as the year winds down and think even more people should take their lead. For example, Scalawag Magazine held a virtual cocktail and cooking party for members on Thursday, and Outlier Media is hosting a free sound bath for their community next week. And for anyone in the journo community, OpenNews is hosting “time to party, reflect, relax, and catch up with each other” at SRCCON:❤️ on December 17. How are you taking time to celebrate and show care for your community as we make our way into 2021? ❤️

Local Lessons from NewsMatch

Now in its fifth year, NewsMatch, the national end-of-year campaign for nonprofit news of all sizes is underway through December 31. People at news outlets — some who have business development in their job description, some who wear a hundred hats — are working with their communities to raise thousands of dollars for the sustainability of their journalism operations, led by the Institute for Nonprofit News and News Revenue Hub and boosted by a national match from a group of funders. With more than 250 newsrooms participating, there are more than 250 different ways to raise money this year, using the NewsMatch toolkit and working with local partners and fundraising lessons from their past campaigns in their community. Here are a few ways some outlets have been creative in rallying support in this year’s NewsMatch, and a few findings from the people behind the scenes.

Holiday Reruns

In one year, we’ve written 43 versions of this newsletter, and thanks to 2020 making us feeling like this, they sometimes blur together. There’s no time like the holidays to revisit old favorites and remind us what paced us through the past twelve months. Areeba, Teresa, and Christine each picked a section that sticks with us. We hope you enjoy these holiday reruns. Do you have a favorite or something you think we should highlight in 2021? Reply to this email and let us know!

  • Color Your Neighborhood. From Your Home: This early April newsletter came when COVID-19 was still a relatively newfangled concept, and the little bits of joy that came with the idea of local coloring books from local news organizations were much appreciated. Remember: “we put the ‘ope’ in hope!” — Christine
  • Spark Your Creativity: I couldn’t resist going back to the first Fix newsletter of 2020. How naive we were then! In two sections we linked to resources on creativity, including tips from our colleagues on what sparks their own creativity. I love when we link to resources that have no connection to journalism and can’t wait to do more of that ~ creatively ~ for you Fixers next year. — Teresa 
  • Play That Song: This pandemic has changed a lot of things, including how we connect with one another. But music has a special way of building community and making people feel connected.  Sometimes all you need is the right tune to feel at home. — Areeba

Wishing you healthy and happy holidays,
Teresa, Christine, and Areeba
@gteresa, @newsbyschmidt, @areebashah_

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. The Fix was started by Josh Stearns and Molly de Aguiar. Disclosure: Some projects mentioned in this newsletter may be funded by Democracy Fund. You can find a full list of the organizations here. Follow us on Twitter at @TheLocalNewsLab.