A project of Democracy Fund

April 16, 2021

Local Fix: Are you collaborating yet?


Welcome to the Local Fix. Each week we look at key questions in journalism sustainability and community engagement through the lens of local news. But first, we always begin with one good idea…

One Good Idea: Language Matters

This week, The Marshall Project launched The Language Project, which examines the words used to describe people behind bars. With a series of pieces by and about people who experienced incarceration, the project centers the impact of the words people choose. Check out their guide “What Words We Use — and Avoid — When Covering People and Incarceration.” It explains The Marshall Project’s decision to avoid labels like “inmate,” and instead use “people-first” language, which steers away from turning one aspect of a person’s life into an all-encompassing label. Pair the guide with other resources, such as Reframe from Resolve Philly which offers guidance on language, as well as a new browser extension text analysis tool that is in beta.  

Are you Collaborating Yet?

Whether in person or virtual, we have to admit that every year we look forward to The Collaborative Journalism Summit put on by the Center for Cooperative Media. It is always jam packed with great ideas, people, and fun tunes. But you don’t have to wait until the event in May to get a taste for all the great collaboration tips and projects that have happened over the last year. The Center for Cooperative Media, INN, and others have shared several case studies recently that showcase the nuanced and creative ways collaboration can happen locally. In a Q+A, Resolve Philly co-director Cassie Haynes shared with CCM that equity and community has to be at the heart of its values. “It’s important to make sure that everybody from the Philadelphia Inquirer to small, single-person desks have the same access to resources in the collaborative, and the same value is placed in how they’re showing up,” Haynes said. In another Q+A, Listening Post Collective founder Jesse Hardiman shared how Listening Post identifies home-grown and community led information projects to support and partner with. One tip is to establish off and online presences for both outreach and collaboration.The Institute for Nonprofit News also recently shared highlights from three collaborations across dozens of nonprofit newsrooms. One key takeaway from both INN and Resolve Philly’s learnings? The importance of a project manager to keep the trains moving. Another recent article shares some tips from collaboration managers who do just that. Check out the links below to see how to improve collaboration efforts.

Have a good weekend,
Areeba, Teresa, and Christine 
@areebashah_, @gteresa, @heres_christine

P.S. As we grieve with the loved ones of Daunte Wright and Adam Toledo this week, we encourage you to follow the work of local journalists who have local context and expertise. Take a look at this piece by Sahan Journal, which collects ways to help the Brooklyn Center community. This coverage by Block Club Chicago centers Adam’s humanity, and also cares for community by leaving out harmful videos and images. We hope you can take some time this weekend to process these injustices in the way you need.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.