February 4, 2022
Local Fix: Building a culture of financial collaboration
Welcome to the Local Fix. Every other 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: Rethink the editorial board
The Connecticut Mirror just launched its first community editorial board, an effort to amplify more representative perspectives in the Mirror’s webpages. The 12 people on the board this year (selected from 100 applicants!) includes residents of five of Connecticut’s eight counties and perspectives from Black, South American, Malayalee American, Asian, Pakistani-American, mixed, Latino, and white lived experiences. The Mirror worked with Free Press and was inspired in part by the Long Beach Post’s community editorial board to develop this group. With the guidance of editor Mercy A. Quaye, members will publish essays in the Mirror’s opinion section.
What we’re seeing in business collaborations
“The field is starting to see a different type of collaboration emerge, especially at the local level,” Gonzalo del Peon wrote at the end of 2020, “Collaborations centered on local news organizations’ business sides [are growing], focused on the development and strengthening of revenue streams and operations capacity — all with a goal of building more robust and sustainable local news ecosystems that are ultimately better able to meet communities’ information needs for the long-term future.”
This is a real you-love-to-see-it moment. Gonzalo shouted out CoastAlaska, the Chicago Independent Media Alliance, and the Neighborhood & Community Media Association of Greater Cleveland. A little over a year since that prediction, we are seeing more and more examples of ways outlets are working together in this way. In New Jersey small news publishers collaborated on selling ads to local businesses with the help of one shared sales representative. Today there are many more, just as Gonzalo predicted.
What are other new ways you’re seeing news outlets work together on their businesses? Reply and let us know.
- Ad Lab experiment in New Jersey benefits independent local news orgs, but requires more investment — Center for Cooperative Media
- “We want to tell you about Madison Minutes because for a limited time, if you sign up for the newsletter using this link, we will donate $2 to Tone Madison.” — Madison Minutes + Tone Madison collaboration
- How the Chicago Independent Media Alliance fundraises as a collective — and why it’s successful — Center for Cooperative Media
- NYC ad spending initiative boosts community news outlets — Center for Community Media Advertising Boost Initiative
- How 6 Alaska newsrooms facing major budget cuts built a fundraising campaign together — Local News Lab
Reads on Our Radar
- “We’re prepared to do things differently, for audiences that deserve much more than they’ve gotten, and who need journalism to show up for them now more than ever.” — Lauren Williams and Akoto Ofori-Atta, Capital B
- URL Media is turning one. Here’s what it accomplished in supporting Black and Brown newsrooms — Kristen Hare, Poynter
- Using the power of the porch: What we’ve learned about community listening — Sonam Vashi and Jennifer Larino, Canopy Atlanta and Lede New Orleans
- Do countries with better-funded public media also have healthier democracies? Of course they do — Josh Benton, Nieman Lab
- Announcing ~$1 million in grants to strengthen and advance equity in local news — Colorado Media Project
Opportunities on Our Radar
- Work with us! Managing director, Democracy Fund, $232,000; no deadline specified
- Project coordinator, News Revenue Hub, $50,000; no deadline
- Program director, Lenfest Institute, $120,000-$150,000; no deadline specified
- Program manager in Philadelphia, Free Press, $62,000-$67,000; application review begins January 31
- For anyone! OpenNews Scholarships+ to pay for professional development, $250 and $500 stipends; first deadline February 11
- Digital marketer and community manager, Indiegraf, $50,000-$65,000; deadline February 15
- For newsrooms: Black Media Project Strategy program, Center for Community Media’s Black Media Initiative, 6 months, free tuition; deadline February 17
Wishing you a happy year of the tiger,
Christine and Teresa
@heres_christine and @gteresa
P.S. We’re psyched for this webinar on February 15 from Local That Works. Rashad Mahmood from the New Mexico Local News Fund and Stefanie Murray from the Center for Cooperative Media in New Jersey will talk about building statewide local news ecosystems. See you there?
The Local Fix is a project of Democracy Fund’s Public Square Program, which supports work that aims to transform journalism so everyone has access to information they need to participate in our democracy. 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.
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