June 24, 2022
Local Fix: Connecting democracy and journalism
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…
“It all starts with asking”
|From posts to panels, there’s always more to learn about fundraising for local newsrooms. At INN Days, NewsMatch participants like India Currents, Futuro Media, and The Current in Georgia discussed building relationships with local donors, the mindset of abundance, and getting results with just a few more emails to prospective donors. And over at the News Revenue Hub, a new case study on Bridge Michigan describes the approach of “always be fundraising,” or remembering that it all starts with asking. The outlet is poised to raise $1 million in reader revenue, a goal set in 2018, by the end of this year thanks to Bridge’s membership team. How can you incorporate some of these tips into your own fundraising work?|
Connecting democracy and journalism
You may have seen a particular post of ours make the rounds on social media over the years: How we know journalism is good for democracy. We’re planning to refresh it this summer with new research and context, and we know plenty of others who are also thinking about the connection between journalism and democracy lately. Amid this week’s congressional hearings about January 6, we’re seeing more projects like the Democracy Day collaboration and a report on how journalists can contextualize authoritarian threats. We’re seeing new roles for democracy editors and other reporters dedicated to covering the changes in American democracy. And we’re seeing funders step up in their understanding of that connection between journalism and democracy, more than ever before. Like Independence Public Media Foundation’s Molly de Aguiar pointed out, “If you are a funder whose community can’t get basic info, let alone in-depth, nuanced info – which people are begging for! – how do you, as a funder, expect your community to be equipped with the knowledge they need to fight for change?” Here are some of the recent reads we’ve been digging into on this. What else are we missing?
- American democracy is under threat — and newsrooms are mobilizing to cover it — Celeste Katz Marston, Nieman Reports
- The Authoritarian Playbook: How reporters can cover and distinguish threats from politics-as-usual — Protect Democracy
- US Democracy Day is Sept. 15; Sign up now to participate — Stefanie Murray, Center for Cooperative Media
- How strengthening democracy begins with better local news — Darryl Holliday and Keith Hammonds, Ashoka
On our radar
- Democracy in America is a rigged game — Ian Millhiser, Capital B and Vox
- Q&A: The origin story of Black Voice News, one of the oldest Black news outlets in California — URL Media
- Delaware’s Local News & Information Ecosystem Assessment: Key Findings and Opportunities — Delaware Local Journalism Initiative
- Restoring radio to Carlsbad — New Mexico Local News Fund
- Grappling with building a better infrastructure for local news — Marc Lavallee, Knight Foundation
- Q&A: Abortion providers on what the media is doing wrong — Ko Bragg, The Objective
Opportunities and events
- Intern with us! Public Square Program intern, Democracy Fund, remote or in DC, $21-25/hour, September 2022 – June 2023
- Audience editor, Ohio Local News Initiative, salary starting at $75,000
- Corps excellence regional manager, Report for America, West Coast location, $86,700
- ProPublica Local Reporting Network office hours, 30 minute discussion on an investigative story idea with a ProPublica editor or staffer
- Legal Clinic Fund for Local News, accepting applications from first amendment and media-serving clinics affiliated with accredited law schools through July 8
- LGBTQIA Journalists Therapy Relief Fund, accepting donations & offering support; organized similarly to the Black Journalists Therapy Relief Fund that is now part of IWMF
- Making journalism with your community – Gather lightning chat, June 28 at 1:30pm ET
Remember to get some fresh air,
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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