In 2013, I started covering the media for Poynter, and, despite being a journalist for a decade already, I did not know how to cover this beat. Before working here, I covered features, race, immigration, the Census and aging. I followed Poynter for writing, reporting and career advice, but not industry news.
That’s because when I first started my career as a newspaper reporter, it felt possible to ignore what was happening to journalism while still doing journalism. I don’t think that’s true anymore.
Starting next week, I’m launching a newsletter (sign up here!) to build a conversation around the issues facing local newsrooms figuring out how to survive and prosper in the digital age. We’ll go city to city, newsroom to newsroom, sometimes desk to desk to find out what’s working, what’s not and what we can learn from each other.
I’ll still be traveling this year to newsrooms around the country as part of my new gig. But you don’t need a plane ticket to connect with other journalists. So each month, starting next week, we’re going to take on an issue. Here’s how it will work:
– The first week, I’ll moderate a conversation between two journalists in different newsrooms and ask for your own stories on that topic.
– The second week, I’ll share what you shared.
– The third week, I’ll bring in bosses for some real talk (no, seriously).
– And the fourth week, we’ll look at solutions to that month’s issue with concrete suggestions and takeaways based on the previous three weeks of discussion.
TL;DR: You have to participate if this is going to work. It’s a project inspired by the way that Poynter columnist Melody Kramer builds community online.
You can subscribe here. Next Tuesday, we’ll launch with a discussion with two journalists in St. Louis and Minneapolis. Our theme for the first month is pretty meta, but when talking about an industry that desperately needs change, it seems like a good place to start.
It is, simply: Why are you still here?
Email or tweet me your thoughts, or leave them in the comments, and I’ll include them in our second newsletter. In the meantime, check out two other great newsletters devoted to local news. Local Fix from Josh Stearns and Teresa Gorman offers a way to keep up with exciting changes in our business. And Happening at Home from Tiffany Stevens is a great weekly reminder, two cities at a time, that journalists around the country are still doing powerful and important work.
OK, I have work to do. See you next week!