National Trust for Local News (NTLN) recently engineered the purchase of a family-owned newspaper chain in Colorado in order to sustain its irreplaceable local journalism. Is this business model a viable strategy to prevent vulture capital acquisitions of local media and closure of local papers across the country?
Newly established National Trust for Local News works “with communities to catalyze the capital, new ownership structures, and business model transformations needed for established local and community news organizations to thrive and remain deeply grounded in their communities.”
This Lightning Chat invited audience development and engagement practitioners to discuss their evolving needs for relationship management software (typically referred to as CRM), solutions others have found or developed, and the need for potentially new tools or approaches.
WFAE embarked on an ambitious journey to look and sound like the community it is licensed to serve. WFAE leaders Ju-Don Marshall and Joe O’Connor explain how they are reaching beyond the traditional “core” audiences of public media to understand and meet the information needs of people in their region.
WFAE’s 2015 transformation aimed to adapt to the digital landscape and have its staff and audience reflect the diversity of the area. Since then, WFAE doubled its content staff, increased its digital traffic seven-fold, attracted new members and grew its general revenues. It developed new habits around audience engagement, publishing frequency, hiring and mentoring, and more.
Founded in 2015, City Bureau is a nonprofit civic journalism lab based on the South Side of Chicago. Their programs mainly focus on training and equipping people with little or no journalism experience to lead community conversations, provide oversight of public meetings, and conduct investigations into local sociopolitical issues.
This article explores an effort to direct state-level public funds toward journalism by using a national policy window combined with an intensive grass-roots effort. We use the lens of Kingdon’s policy process model to showcase dynamics that contribute to the media policymaking literature. The process and enactment of New Jersey’s 2018 Civic Information Consortium bill are analyzed using a combination of archival research and oral history, highlighting the efforts of policy entrepreneurs and knowledge-brokers, who served as key advocates for the bill’s passage.
Over the past month, 30 states have made journalism an essential service in their disaster declarations, putting local news outlets on par with hospitals and grocery stores. It makes sense: local news is how we find out about stay at home orders and whether our nearby hospital has tests available. But there is a troubling irony to this moment: The coronavirus — while creating a need for strong local news — has ignited an economic crisis that could wipe out huge swaths of journalism in America.
In 2018, New Jersey created the Civic Information Consortium, a first-of-its-kind nonprofit with the mission of strengthening local-news coverage and boosting civic engagement in communities across the state. Free Press Action conceived of the Civic Info Bill, which created the consortium and is now serving as a model for other states that are seeking to give people the news and information they need.
What are the barriers? Why is it so dang hard to just “do engagement already?” We had our hunches, but we commissioned a study to really find out. We spoke with 100 people who are already bought in — who desperately want to spend their time doing better engagement — to learn what (and who) stands in their way. Engagement is a process, not a product. The solution must start with mindset and culture change, not software
Using funding from a successful 2018 Kickstarter campaign and support from block-chain journalism initiative Civil, the Colorado Sun is an ad-free new project. The model attempts to decentralize ownership of the newsroom in order to avoid a repeat of the recent hedge fund-mandate layoffs at the competing Denver Sun—layoffs that provided the staffing and ideological genesis for the Colorado Sun, as career journalists who had lost their jobs sought out new employment and a better, more sustainable way of reporting the news. More here, here and here.
Are you looking for outside funding for your engagement work? In this 30-minute video chat, we’ll talk to Molly de Aguiar of the News Integrity Initiative, Paul Waters of Democracy Fund, and Karen Rundlet of the Knight Foundation who represent organizations that offer funding to support journalism. What do they wish journalists knew about how to find funding?