A project of Democracy Fund

May 21, 2021

Local Fix: Congrats to the Collaboratives

One Good Idea: It’s Survey Time

Maybe this newsletter has been coming into your inbox for the past week, month, year — or if you’re one of the original subscribers, seven years 😱. The Fix is due for a tune-up, and we want to hear from you to understand how we can better serve you. Share your thoughts in this eight question survey by June 1 and you’ll be entered to receive your choice of cookies, popcorn, or candy from Sugarwish. Five people will be randomly selected, and all feedback is welcome. We appreciate you (and we hope you like the treats)!

Congrats to the Collaborative Graduates

This week, three local collaborative reporting projects celebrated two years of learning and impact by donning virtual caps and gowns during the Collaborative Journalism Summit hosted by the Center for Cooperative Media. Granite State News CollaborativeResolve Philly, and the Charlotte Journalism Collaborative graduated from the Solutions Journalism Network’s Local Media Project. They’ve built relationships and trust to unite neighboring newsrooms to better serve their communities with collaborative reporting on economic mobility, the lack of affordable housing, and remote learning in the pandemic. It’s been clear for years that journalism is stronger when reporters work together to find answers across communities rather than compete for a scoop or a source, and the work that these projects have accomplished cements that. For example, Granite State News Collaborative director Melanie Plenda shared that on her first day of work she had to give a speech to the New Hampshire Press Association to pitch the idea — and was immediately turned down by a newsroom leader she approached after the talk to join the group. But she won them over. Between March and December 2020, the collaborative published 1,700 stories and kept 20 journalists working throughout the pandemic. And the cherry on top: The editor who swore he’d never join is now one of the most active partners in the project. The issues these and other collaboratives have covered, Plenda said, are “too important not to work together [on].” As these three collaboratives move on from their residency at the Local Media Project, Karen Magnuson, project director for SJN’s initiative in Michigan and western New York, capped off the ceremony with gratitude, thanking the projects for blazing the trail and sharing their lessons: “Your work is going to live on in many collaboratives in the future.” Learn more about their models and lessons, and check out the lineup of the Collaborative Journalism Summit’s third and final day on Friday.

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