January 3, 2018

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 sign up here.

Happy New Year!

This is the time of year to get to work on changes, and we’re doing that here thanks to your feedback. (And thank you, truly, for the feedback to last month’s survey on Local Edition.)

Here’s what you said:

We need to find fixes, not just problems. One of you pointed out that we spent a lot of time talking about issues that most of us know exist, and not enough time on solutions. That’s totally fair. From now on, we'll have less “here’s what’s wrong” and more “here’s how people are fixing it.”

This newsletter can get a bit long. I’m going to shorten it. 

The five-week-format can be a bit confusing. We’ve included a box at the top as a quick way to see where we are and catch up. I’m also cutting the edition that wraps the discussion up because it often felt like filler. 

We’re going to try and stick to one topic each month, but if we need more or less time, we’ll take it. As one subscriber gently reminded me, it’s the internet! There’s no set space to fill. (My newspaper brain is well-formed, apparently.)

We'll spend a lot more time talking about revenue. Every other month, we’re going to talk about specific ways newsrooms are making money and what we can learn from them. We’ll try that until we’re out of ideas or those things start working or the benevolent billionaires all show up and save the day. 

We'll keep talking to people who aren't journalists. Like me, a lot of you said you love the weeks when we have people who don’t work in newsrooms. 

We need more voices. Several people also pointed out how print- and word-centric our guests can be. I’d love to include more TV and radio people, and if you are one or you know some, please send me ideas

In the survey, here are the topics that got the most votes: 

  • What should journalists/newsrooms stop doing (and how do we say no?)
  • How do we keep journalists in local newsrooms?
  • How do we make money in local news?

We’re starting it all next week with the first – how to say no (not in general, like to sweet, sweet office cake, but specifically, like to work that’s no longer working.)

In the meantime, read Digiday's Lucia Moses on changing attitudes about paywalls. I wrote about how local and national newsrooms might start working together when big news breaks. My colleague Ren LaForme wrote a great year-end piece on questions to ask before making changes in your newsroom. And check out this Webinar from Poynter's News U on The Power of Public Records

See you next week!

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Kristen Hare teaches local journalists the critical skills they need to serve and cover their communities as Poynter's local news faculty member. Before joining faculty…
Kristen Hare

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