Local that Works spotlights innovative and replicable content, engagement and revenue initiatives at public radio and TV stations and nonprofit and digital news organizations in the U.S. LTW includes an annual contest and a database (below). LTW produces webinars that offer insights into projects and organizations that are reshaping local civic journalism.
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In Oakland, Black and brown communities have undeniably been impacted the most by COVID-19. We designed a multi-platform information campaign to answer their questions about vaccines.
Documented Semanal: An Interactive WhatsApp Channel for New York’s Spanish-Speaking Immigrant CommunityDocumented
Documented Semanal is an interactive Spanish-language news service of the most important news for immigrant New Yorkers and answers to their most pressing questions.
On the first Thursday of every month from 7 to 8 p.m., WTIP hosts a live interactive conversation on an issue of great community importance. This participatory program is designed to give everyone a voice in the meaningful and vital discussions on public affairs issues that shape the health and well-being of our community. Because we have had to pivot our technical approach to the program due to the COVID-19 pandemic, our community guests are invited to participate through Zoom and listeners are invited to call in or email with questions, comments and concerns prior to the show.
Coping with Covid-19 is a series, and each part is 60 seconds worth of credible information about the coronavirus from respected medical and scientific authorities.
Fearing an information gap in North Carolina’s underserved communities facing an unprecedented pandemic, Carolina Public Press (CPP) launched the Emergency News Team (ENT) immediately after COVID-19 struck the state. The initiative was a collaborative, multifaceted, multilingual program to help all North Carolinians — especially underserved rural residents — access reliable and timely COVID-19 news and information.
The Pittsburgh region is run in large part by more than 500 unelected board members of authorities, commissions and other governmental agencies who often decide what does and doesn’t get built, who gets contracts and grants, what rates and fees we pay and more. This project sheds light on these panels and their roles, providing information about each member and inviting analysis of this important part of the region’s power structure.
The COVID-19 Brief is a weekly live, call-in show with the Homer Unified Command-The City of Homer, South Peninsula Hospital, AK Dept of Public Health and Kenai Peninsula Borough School District to update the community on the local covid-19 situation, allow listeners to call in and ask questions and allow community leaders and healthcare professionals to disseminate vital information to the community.
Since the pandemic hit Nevada, we have aimed to provide the most comprehensive COVID-19 data, infographics and informed context in the state. As the only major paywall-free news site in Nevada (excluding radio and television sites), all of our in-depth coronavirus reporting is accessible to all Nevadans regardless of ability to pay.
Launched in March 2020 as the coronavirus threat began to surge, “The Daily Dose” podcast serves as a twelve-minute evening roundup of WYPR’s latest local and state reporting on Maryland’s COVID-19 response, as well as a forum for community members who want to share their stories about everyday life during the pandemic. This daily podcast fosters greater knowledge, connection and understanding for Marylanders navigating the ongoing public health crisis.
Vaccine Equity for Oakland
In December 2020 and January 2021, when vaccine efforts were getting underway in earnest, our newsroom embarked on an ambitious campaign to inform our readers, dispel myths, and get timely, accurate, and actionable information about vaccinations into the hands of our readers and neighbors who needed it most.
At the center of our campaign was an exhaustive vaccination guide, which we first published in January 2021 — an easy-to-navigate online document that we continue to update, providing answers to critical questions about the vaccine: Who’s eligible, how to find appointments in our city, how to volunteer, and much more.
But we knew that information about vaccines and how to get them was changing rapidly and that not everyone in Oakland who needed the information would be coming to our website to find answers. That’s why, simultaneously publishing our guide, we launched a text messaging service to reach a broader cross-section of our city and respond in real-time to their questions and concerns about the vaccine. To get the word out, we plastered 8 1/2 x 11-inch paper flyers all over town, with a focus on those areas of the East Oakland flatlands that have been hardest by the pandemic, with information about how to sign up for the text service and a QR code to access our digital vaccine guide.
As journalists, we also knew that ongoing reporting, coupled with storytelling, about the virus and vaccines would be a key component of our campaign. So we’ve complemented our guide and texting service consistently with articles about Oakland’s vaccine rollout, and live-streamed Q&A sessions with local public health officials, alongside profiles and first-person narratives of everyday Oaklanders navigating the pandemic and vaccination process. We’ve also continued to point our audience to one of the first products we developed as a newsroom in the early days of the pandemic to protect our communities: a guide to free COVID-19 testing sites in Oakland.
Hundreds of thousands of people have come to our guide to get information about when, where, and how to find and make an appointment to get vaccinated in Oakland and Alameda County, and over 3,000 people signed up for our text messaging service.
Of course, connecting our efforts to actual vaccination rates in Oakland and Alameda County would be the best indicator of impact. It's impossible to say how much our efforts moved the needle in this regard. But in Oakland today (August 2021) more than 85 percent of residents have received at least one vaccination. As the only daily news provider based in Oakland and covering the city, we believe our work has been one small but important piece of a much larger, community-wide effort to increase awareness of vaccines.
The campaign has been a group effort involving everyone in our newsroom, but we relied heavily on the work of one freelance health reporter who was our point person on the project, helping us to stay on top of guide updates and responding to audience questions daily via our text messaging service. This was made possible in part through the support of a local donor.