Let’s read/share great local news

June 26, 2019

This piece originally appeared in Local Edition, our newsletter following the digital transformation of local news. Want to be part of the conversation? You can subscribe here.

What work are you proud of?

About a year ago, I asked local newsrooms to share their ambitious work. I got so much. Then, when my editor, Barbara Allen, came to Poynter last year, she started collecting and sharing great local work, too.

It’s never hard to find. But we want to make it easier to share. So starting next week and for the whole month of July, we’re inviting you to share work from your local newsroom that you’re proud of. You can find the Google form here. We probably won’t publish each submission, but we’ll sure try.

In the meantime, I wanted to dig into our archives for last year’s pieces.

They include how the Victoria Advocate continued reporting after Hurricane Harvey’s destruction; an enterprise project that took sensitivity and patience out of Phoenix from KJZZ; a podcast out of the Ventura County Star in California; a project on homelessness from Foster’s Daily Democrat in Dover, New Hampshire; an examination of the Mississippi River’s role in the community from The (Burlington, Iowa) Hawk Eye; and an investigation into how spending on border security has changed life in Texas from the Texas Observer.

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This advice from Michelle Rogers, consumer experience director at the Star, is still great:

“Don’t let the naysayers tell you ‘we don’t have the resources’ to accomplish something that you have researched, tested and know will resonate with your audience,” Rogers said. “Do what you need to do to get it done. Advocate for it and get buy-in. Persistence, patience, follow through and dedication pay off as long as you keep your audience top of mind and fill the void.”

Want more?

OK, here’s ongoing coverage that led to the resignation of the town’s mayor from the Lancaster (Ohio) Eagle-Gazette; a look back at a devastating storm in 1968 from the one-person Greenwood (Arkansas) Democrat; a project on poverty and affordable housing in Illinois from The Southern Illinoisan; an in-depth immigration project from the Glenwood Springs (Colorado) Post Independent and so much more.

We also have tips gleaned from these projects. They include:

  • Plan, coordinate and keep talking
  • Keep your project boiling on the back burner
  • Don’t wait for people with the right skills and know-how, get people with adjacent skills and know-how
  • Figure out the stories only your newsroom can tell
  • And find partners

I already have a few great and recent local stories and projects to share with you next week, but we have the whole month to do this, so please send more.

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While you’re here:

  • Read/learn: Great news from Melanie Sill’s newsletter, NC Local, about a free newspaper that’s making gains in its membership program.
  • Makes sense: REI is working with NewsMatch to fund local environmental coverage.
  • Try this: Like the Seattle Times’ community funding model for beat-specific work, the Boston Globe announced last week that it’s working with a local foundation to cover local education.
  • Apply: Local health care journalists, you have until July 15 to apply for this grant to fund your projects.

See you next week!