A project of Democracy Fund

August 5, 2022

Local Fix: 3 “oooh” moments from new nonprofit news data

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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…

Equitable engagement

Are you still talking about “giving voice to the voiceless” in your reporting? 😬 Instead, check out this new guide on approaching engagement equitably thanks to Free Press and the American Journalism Project. Authored by Mike Rispoli and Alicia Bell (now at the Racial Equity and Journalism Fund), this guide has *chef’s kiss* questions to consider like “Who are the racial/ethnic/marginalized groups affected by the issue you’re covering and are they at the table?” and “Is there a clear feedback loop you can show community members to illustrate how their input helps shape your work?” Bookmark this one for sure, and if you’re part of the Gather Slack for engagement-minded journalists, tune in for their lightning chat to discuss the guide on August 10. (If you’re not, join Gather and sign up for the event!)
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3 “oooh” moments from the INN Index report

The Institute for Nonprofit News’ annual report studying the development of its 400+ member newsrooms recently hit inboxes, and it shares lots of interesting tidbits about the growth of the nonprofit journalism field. A few things jumped out to us, with a few key words to remember: bigger, smaller, and even bigger. 

  • Bigger revenue coming in: INN members are increasing their revenue, especially coming out of the initial financial shocks from the pandemic. As authors Emily Roseman, Michelle McLellan, and Jesse Holcomb write, “Two-thirds of news organizations grew total annual revenue over the four years from 2018 though 2021.” But they also note that most foundation money still goes to well-known national outlets rather than local newsrooms that really need it.
  • Smaller focuses from new newsrooms: There could be a new local nonprofit newsroom in your backyard (maybe you started it!). In the past five years about two times as many nonprofit newsrooms launched compared to the five years before that. And over half of those newbies are focusing on local communities, with growth especially concentrated in the southeast and western U.S.
  • Even bigger networks of newsrooms: More alliances and editorial collaborations are emerging to link up all these new newsrooms for even greater impact. Are you part of them?

What does this mean for the actual newsrooms? Here are three recent dives into how these nonprofit newsrooms are approaching their work: 

And we know folks are always curious to learn about the state of outlets beyond the nonprofit news slice. Check out the Project News Oasis report from LION Publishers and other partners in March 2021 for more data.

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On our radar


Jobs and other opportunities

Encounter something that intrigues you this 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.
Follow us on Twitter at @TheLocalNewsLab.

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