A project of Democracy Fund

March 4, 2022

Local Fix: What we’re learning about local education reporting

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: Encourage readers to put your newsletter series into action

In the past few years you may have signed up for a newsletter series, where subscribers get a number of auto-sent follow-up emails over the next few weeks to dive deeper into a topic or complete a challenge. LION Publishers just introduced their version, with a pretty great incentive at the end. Their News Founder Challenge shares lessons and recommendations for refining a local news business idea over six weeks and invites you to schedule a 1:1 consulting session with a LION staff member once you complete the steps. That sounds like a win-win to us!

New data on local education reporting

A team of researchers led by Jesse Holcomb with support from the Hewlett Foundation have helped unpack information needs of parents and guardians in regards to their children’s schooling. First they published findings from a survey of parents, and then this week, they shared an analysis of 140+ local media outlets’ education reporting. “Local media’s K-12 agenda has mirrored parent priorities- lots of attention to teaching and learning, as well as school closures and re-openings,” Holcomb shared. But the perspectives of parents, teachers, students, and labor leaders are not as represented in these articles as school officials. Who helped break that pattern? “In particular, local news organizations focused on serving communities of color … stood out for their … service journalism, their emphasis on reporting about solutions to education-related problems, and their attention to matters of race in the educational context,” the researchers wrote. Reporting on education is a staple in many local newsrooms, and we hope these findings help spur more conversation about the kind of information people are looking for.

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Remember to stay hydrated,

Christine and Teresa
@heres_christine and @gteresa

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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