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April 1, 2022

Local Fix: Three reflections on philanthropy’s role

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…

The ABCs of news products

Do you often hear terms like MOCHA, Gantt chart, and product manager — and wonder what the heck people are talking about? Now there’s a great resource for people who want to understand product terms in the context of newsrooms (and some terms we use ourselves in philanthropy!). This glossary from Mary Tyler March and Jessica Morrison is one of the pieces of the News Product Alliance’s new product kit, the best new addition to your bookmarks bar.

Lessons from philanthropy in journalism

As we move into spring (or in central New York, more snow), we’re soaking up the reflections that people are sharing on their work of the past few months, year, or more. It’s easy to skip taking the time to sit with the lessons, so we’re grateful to the writers below for doing so. Here are our top highlights: a reminder of the pace of systems change, the importance of alignment across partners, and the value of embracing imagination. What stands out to you? Reply to this email and let us know.

  1. “If we have clarity together around the bigger impact we want to make together, and what we value, then we can give ourselves and each other permission to make moves that are accountable to that shared purpose and values.” ➡️ Thanks to Alicia Bell for sharing this article about lessons from movement conflicts in Nonprofit Quarterly, by Ingrid Benedict, Weyam Ghadbian and Jovida Ross.
  2. “For the past 3.5 years the Colorado Media Project has attempted to serve as a center of gravity for engaging non-journalists — especially those from underserved communities — in this pivotal time for the future of local civic news. We see our role as helping to catalyze, fund, and advocate for innovations that make Colorado’s local news ecosystem more sustainable, collaborative, trustworthy, equitable and accountable to the public it serves.” ➡️ Read the full reflection from Melissa Milios Davis of the Gates Family Foundation on the first few years of the Colorado Media Project.
  3. “Two years into our first investments … our grantees currently oversee $80 million in spending on local news. With our support, they aim to nearly double that number to $150 million by the end of their grants — and to have more than 1,130 journalists and other staff serving their communities with trusted local news…. The road to systems change is a long one and we’re energized by the challenges and strategic questions that lie ahead.” ➡️ Check out this context on data shared by the American Journalism Project in its 2022 impact report

The field of journalism is rapidly being transformed by philanthropy. Where are you learning about this? What else should we be paying attention to? We want to know what you think.

On our radar


Jobs and professional development

Other opportunities and events

Have a good weekend,

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.

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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