A project of Democracy Fund

June 25, 2021

Local Fix: How to make change happen, plus shout out your town

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: Good Things are Happening!
You can’t get away from bad news about local news, but you know us, we think it’s vital to point out the many successful projects happening across the country that often get overlooked. A recent article in the Guardian points out many of those in one spot, Chicago. It highlights organizations like Invisible Institute, which shared a Pulitzer Prize this year, Block Club Chicago, a nonprofit that spreads the wealth in the field by regularly sharing tips with other local startups, City Bureau, whose Documenters program is popping up across the country, and Chicago Independent Media Association, that just wrapped a fundraising campaign which raised almost $100k for dozens of independent media outlets. That’s just a small slice of the many outlets and people making change in the city.  “We need a lot more Chicagos around the country,” Local Fix co-founder Josh Stearns shared in the piece. Read it to get inspired. But it left us wondering — what other cities, towns, and areas haven’t gotten this type of write-up that should? Show some love to your place and share with us on Twitter @thelocalnewslab, or hit reply and let us know. 


“Change is like oxygen: we need it to exist,” Ron Smith, now Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service Editor, said in a series of interviews with leaders about change that we published on the Local News Lab in 2018. But change can be a scary thing, no matter where you are in an organization. We remembered Smith’s interview when we spotted a worksheet all about how to make change happen at organizations that American Press Institute’s Emily Ristow shared on Twitter from ONA 21. The worksheet shares a helpful framework to prepare for pitching and implementing projects, as well as a whole list of resources to dig even deeper. It guides you through questions that get at the reasons people resist change in the first place, from the shame that some people may have about doing things the ‘old’ way, to lack of understanding to loss of control. Is there a change you’re working on right now that you’re proud of? Dive in to these resources for help:

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.