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 (deadline: August 23) and a database (below). LTW produces webinars that offer insights into projects and organizations that are reshaping local civic journalism.
Explore the database of 400+ Local that Works projects. Check out Local that Works contest Winners, Finalists and Semifinalists by clicking on those colored tags.
Other tips on using the database: If viewing this on a computer, all projects are listed in the left column. Click on a project name and its longer profile will appear in the right column. If viewing on mobile, clicking on a project name will load the full listing on your screen.
Filter your results by selecting a tag or multiple tags in the categories drop down menu and clicking on search. IMPORTANT: Make sure to deselect your checked categories for subsequent searches.
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The New Jersey Sustainability Reporting project is a statewide news collaborative spearheaded by CivicStory. It generates local news stories about sustainability issues and actions required to resolve the climate crisis. 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.
Uncuffed is a podcast and radio series made by people incarcerated in California prisons. KALW producers teach them how to record and edit powerful audio stories about life on the inside. Uncuffed seeks to create emotional, human stories to shift the narrative around incarcerated people and change the criminal justice system.
The RadioWest Book Club brings listeners together to read and talk about books and has proven to be a great way to reach new audiences, engage with librarians, scholars and other community partners and create an enduring podcast of the monthly club discussions.
KBBI AM 890 is hosted an on-air remote ‘Concert on YOUR Lawn’ Fundraiser – a socially distant homage to our Concert On The Lawn days and an opportunity for us to celebrate our amazing listener-supporters. Throughout the two days, listeners heard the regular shows they love as well as live music, KBBI testimonies and giveaways all culminating in the Concert on Your Lawn event with local musicians broadcasting from their homes.
Valley Public Radio launches a new broadcast series and podcast dedicated to rediscovering the short stories of Pulitzer Prize winning author and Fresno native William Saroyan. The program features acclaimed authors reading the works and discussing their relevance to our lives in the COVID-19 era.
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.
How are young people making sense of the world during our global pandemic and as thousands of citizens take to the streets demanding racial justice and police reform? KNKX’s Take the Mic youth voices series turns the “microphone” over to teens and kids, giving them the opportunity to share their stories during these extraordinary times.
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.
Each Thursday morning at 10 a.m., kids and grown-ups across Alaska’s Southern Kenai Peninsula join local Homer librarian Claudia Haines for an hour of stories, music and movement on the radio. Storytime offers young families a no-cost program to grow early literacy skills, access to high quality books and media and connect with other families while staying safe at home during the pandemic.
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.
The NJ Sustainability Reporting project has generated $38,500 in revenue to date. It has received $3,000 in sponsorship from businesses; four foundation grants totaling $23,000; a total of $7,500 from the NJSR Hub founding partners ($2,500 each from CivicStory, the Center for Cooperative Media, and Alliance for New Jersey Environmental Education); and $5,000 from crowdsourcing.