A project of Democracy Fund

June 11, 2021

Local news research can be an investment in community

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: Different Ways to Listen

What’s the first step someone new to a community can take to understand it? Listen. Here are some suggestions for what that can tangibly mean: Provide value to people rather than extracting time or resources from them; be prepared to answer questions, and consider hiring local residents or organizations to do the work with you. These are some of the many tips shared by Fiona Morgan in this case study about her experience conducting community research efforts during the pandemic, along with insight from Outlier Media, the Listening Post Collective, and Local Voices Network. Funders, make sure to bookmark this one

Make Onboarding Better

In Current this week, Priska Neely, managing editor for the Gulf States Newsroom, asks: Why do we wait until people leave their jobs to celebrate them and show them we care? Instead, Neely has brought that spirit into her onboarding practices. Her checklist for the first week of a job includes everything from sending a picture and bio of the new hire to staff so people know who they are to sending swag to making expectations clear from day one. Kaeti Hinck, director of visual news at CNN, also recently shared a Twitter thread of tips for virtual onboarding that could be useful for anyone, including creating a team code of conduct and a glossary of regularly used terms and acronyms. If you’re inspired by these checklists and more that we’ve linked below, we featured an onboarding audit worksheet created by Melody Kramer and Kate Travis back in 2018, and it is still relevant today. Go ahead, get your onboarding on:

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