Local that Works spotlights innovative and replicable content, engagement and revenue initiatives at public radio and TV stations and nonprofit 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 journalism.
Explore the database of 400+ Local that Works projects. To see previous Local that Works contest winners, finalists and semifinalists, click on green, purple or orange tags and our judges’ favorites will show up in the left column.
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The New Jersey Sustainability Reporting project is a state wide news collaborative spearheaded by CivicStory that generates local storiabout sustainability issues and actions required to resolve our climate crises. Through 6-month fellowships, early to mid-career journalists report for diverse New Jersey newsrooms, and help citizens shift from day-to-day thinking to longer-term consideration of the needs, health, and wellbeing of future generations.
Kansas City PBS creates “Zoom juries” as a novel approach to engaging citizens on critical pandemic related issues. In ‘Justice Deferred’ we partnered with area courts to examine what it will take to restart criminal jury trials suspended since stay-at-home orders went into effect in March.
Sahan Journal, an independent, nonprofit news site in partnership with MPR News, serves the immigrant and refugee populations of Minnesota with professional journalism centered on immigrant lives, voices, and experiences.
WCMU is re-imagining local journalism by creating partnerships with rural newspapers to produce content and at the same time train J students in broadcast, print and internet story telling. We are harnessing the reach of a public radio network and the local strength of community newspapers to provide an outstanding product, remind news consumers about the value of local news, and give small papers much needed boots on the ground during a time when contractions in the industry are threatening their existence.
The vastness and diversity of New York City means many residents are unaware of the worlds existing next door, around the block, behind the sign in a foreign tongue. In a bid to bring the city closer together and recognize the great journalism going on in every corner of the city, City Limits’ Voices of New York project translates news from Spanish, Chinese, Polish, Nepalese, Japanese, Russian, Bengali and other languages into English. This amplifies some of the smallest, more vital media voices in our city,
The Memorial Day death of George Floyd at the hands of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin has set off protest around the globe. “Police, Reimagined: The Future of Public Safety” is a four-part community conversation series that attempts the to answer the question: Can you reduce funding for police, and limit their role in communities, while ensuring public safety for all communities?
No in-person events due to COVID-19? No problem! KMUW’s Digital Democracy on Tap shifts enlightening live conversations to an online format that allows for expanded reach, flexibility, and greater opportunities for audience participation, while still hosting high quality discussions of issues facing our local and national community.
WSHU Public Radio collaborates with undergraduate journalism students to craft local interest stories for on-air broadcast. This initiative offers a replicable framework for radio stations to partner with colleges or universities in a win/win partnership that promotes much needed local news and bolsters community pride showcasing hyper-local stories, while giving students experiential learning opportunities and exposing them to the professional journalism process.
News for All ensures underserved and vulnerable populations have access to news and information in their languages, to connect them with the community at large, keep them up to date regarding critical resources available during the COVID-19 pandemic, and envelope them in the democratic process.
New Jersey Sustainability Reporting Project
The New Jersey Sustainability Reporting (NJSR) project began in January 2019 at Montclair State University’s Center for Cooperative Media as a collaborative effort among representatives from nine local environmental nonprofits. We shared the goal of supporting new forms of news to address our worsening environmental crisis and, together, create a plan for the future NJSR Hub. This plan included training eight journalism fellows from geographically diverse New Jersey newsrooms; launching a website to aggregate and archive the stories and a newsletter highlighting our multimedia stories; engaging content distribution partners including higher education institutions to help reach a combined audience exceeding those of the newsrooms.
We hired a project manager and began recruiting newsrooms in May 2019. Two months later, we interviewed and selected our eight reporting fellows. In August, we finalized our letters of understanding with the seven participating newsrooms and held three training and orientation days. The fellows began reporting in September, and in November, we launched website with our first 12 stories, and sent out the first newsletter to 2,900 CivicStory subscribers.
Our news editors committed to publishing sustainability stories in return for a stipend of $4,000 which was paid directly to the newsrooms. They were responsible for producing 10-12 print stories or 6-8 video or audio segments. Each newsroom retained their editorial independence and were not obligated to post each other’s content. CivicStory and the NJSR Hub project director communicated regularly with the fellows about story ideas and progress. By the end of the pilot phase in February 2020, we had a total of 59 stories posted to our website. The number had grown to more than 100 by late August.
We started SRHub because we found that news coverage of sustainability issues often fails to match the scale and urgency of our global ecological crises. Citizens need to know how they impact the climate and what they can do to prevent these crises from worsening right at home. Daily news plays a key role in conveying this information and engaging diverse audiences. As the most densely populated state and a birthplace of U.S. industry, we believe New Jersey has important sustainability stories to tell.
Since starting the NJSR Hub project, we have seen a measurable impact on sustainability coverage in our state. Our newsroom editors have cited the fellowship program as the impetus for reporting stories that otherwise would not have been told. There has also been a higher prevalence of front-page sustainability stories across our partner organizations and increased knowledge about the topic on the part of our fellows. We have also partnered successfully with The College of New Jersey, where a spring 2020 journalism and computer science course focused on our work and a student intern developed both a tagging system and interactive map that rolled in Fall 2020.