A project of Democracy Fund

April 30, 2021

Local Fix: Celebrating World Press Freedom Day



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: How Systems Thinking Helped El Tímpano Understand an Invisible Crisis

When El Tímpano began investigating how overcrowded housing in Oakland’s Latino and Mayan immigrant communities affected the health of residents, the journalists knew they wanted to do it in a different way. So they teamed up with the folks behind Journalism + Design and incorporated their systems thinking tools to identify the interconnected systems at play. Read this piece, which highlights the three main steps that the Journalism + Design team guided El Tímpano through to take a systems-thinking approach in informing their journalism. Also, check out their Systems Thinking for Journalists toolkit, which explains how you can deepen your reporting and take a similar approach to your own work. (We’re big systems thinking fans here – for more resources on it check out the Democracy Fund site and a previous Local Fix or two.)

World Press Freedom Day

May 3rd is World Press Freedom Day — a time to honor the work of journalists and celebrate the role that media around the world plays in upholding accountability and preserving democracy. Started in the 1990s as a global commemoration by UNESCO, the theme of World Press Freedom Day 2021 is recognizing information as a public good. That’s why we’re encouraging you to take some time to commemorate the work that journalists (yes, including you!) do in spite of obstacles online and offline to get the truth out there. Check out this event by PEN America on Monday at 8pm ET, which will highlight the experiences of Cierra Hinton at Scalawag, Willoughby Mariano of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and Sarah Rahal at The Detroit News. Also, take a look at the Ten Most Urgent Press Freedom Cases that the One Free Press Coalition launched this month to highlight journalists facing retaliation worldwide. As reporting from IWMF shows, online harassment poses a serious threat to reporters’ safety and disproportionately targets women and people of color. However, there are resources offering support to journalists, including this guide by the Committee to Protect Journalists on navigating digital safety. The Online Violence Response Hub by the Coalition Against Online Violence will also launch this summer, offering a resource center for women journalists to find the latest information on online abuse and provide latest digital safety guides. These are some steps that journalists and news organizations can take themselves, but World Press Freedom Day is a reminder of the common value of information that we all can act to protect. 

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

P.S. Hello new subscribers! Thanks Local Edition for the shoutout. We share resources and stories for all those who are reinventing local news ecosystems. Have a suggestion for a link or project we should highlight? Hit reply and send it our way. 

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.