A project of Democracy Fund

June 18, 2021

Local Fix: “Seeds are sources of possibility”

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: Remember gardens’ lessons
It’s tough to remain patient while working on ourselves and connect with our communities when we need support. In the same way seeds take time to grow after receiving the right offerings from the sun, water and soil, we as humans also require consistent care. This guide from Annika Hansteen-Izora, which we found thanks to the New_Public newsletter, puts it perfectly: “Seeds are sources of possibility. Just as you are. Every day, you hold the magic to begin again, in whatever way you need to in this present moment.” Remember to allow yourself time to reflect, ground your thoughts and ask yourself what you need when you feel decentered. The next time you feel overwhelmed or confronted by many challenges, tune into the tips provided by this guide.

Anti-Racist Table Stakes

This week, Cierra Hinton and Lizzy Hazeltine launched the Anti-Racist Table Stakes. Building off of the original Table Stakes for digital transformation, the guide provides a specific focus that newsrooms can use to become more anti-racist, stating that organizations need to center audiences and communities first. The Anti-Racist Table Stakes authors view “engagement as a leading indicator of success and revenue as a lagging indicator of trust.” In their post describing why they created the guidelines, Hinton and Hazeltine underscore: “If you don’t get the relationship with the whole of your community right you won’t get the business right. More than that, if you don’t get the relationships right beyond the audiences you currently focus on, you won’t survive.” The first step of this process requires ownership of past wrongs and for most news organizations that means recognizing how they may have participated in community harm or neglect. A readiness assessment in the document can help you determine if your organization is ready to embark on this journey and how to get started and measure it as you go.

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

P.S. Lea Trusty, who’s popped in a few times here at the Local Fix to pinch hit with editing and writing, recently shared an update on Democracy Fund’s commitment to supporting media equity. This year, Democracy Fund has committed over $1.5 million dollars to grant amendments and renewals to organizations that support the growth and leadership of journalists of color while holding the journalism industry accountable for more fair and representative coverage. This piece is an illustration of how all of us at Democracy Fund, including your trusty Fix team, aim to be transparent in ensuring equity remains at the forefront of our work and continuing to examine how our external grantmaking, internal culture, and what we write here every week uphold white supremacy. We welcome your feedback via email and we also encourage people to provide anonymous feedback about Democracy Fund on Grant Advisor.

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.