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.
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.
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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.
WDET’s mission is to be the authentic voice of Detroit. Framed by WDET is a multimedia series that integrates photography and audio storytelling to present the authentic stories of Detroit’s ethnic and cultural communities on the radio, online, in a photobook, and at pop-up exhibitions in more than 20 art spaces in the Detroit region and beyond. Produced in collaboration with a community of Detroit-based photographers and storytellers, Framed empowers local residents to contribute to and inform the station’s programming. Read Current’s story about Framed.
“Community in Unity” is simple: get people together who wouldn’t normally interact, sit them in a circle, and listen. We gather inside homeless shelters, community centers, and TV studios for recorded conversations about community topics. Topics have ranged from race and identity to mental health to immigration, and our most recent series gathered inside prisons to discuss incarceration and the justice system. These moderated conversations are recorded and broadcast to amplify the voices of those not often heard in media. Read about “Community In Unity”in Current.
Ode is a bimonthly, live storytelling event developed to reflect our community’s economic engine, which has been the meat industry. This relatively high paying/low skill work has drawn immigrants from Latvia, Poland, Germany, Ireland, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Ethiopia, Somalia, etc. For this event – Stories Without Borders – we teamed up with two other nonprofit organizations. We presented six storytellers in a step toward a better future, encouraging awareness, connection, and a celebration of our community’s true story. Read Current’s story.
Sahan Journal’s founder, Mukhtar Ibrahim, is a Somali-born American journalist who began this digital-first independent news operation with the support of MPR News. Over the course of 18 months, Ibrahim raised $900,000 in funding from major foundations, created sahanjournal.com, and hired seven staff members, including three Report for America journalists. The site launched in August 2019, and has exceeded growth projections. In July 2020, unique visitors totaled nearly 200,000.
At the onset of COVID-19 in Minnesota, Sahan Journal began publishing essential pandemic coverage in three languages — Hmong, Somali, and Spanish — reflecting the three largest immigrant groups in the state. Over the summer of 2020, as the Twin Cities were rocked by civic unrest in protest of the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police, Sahan Journal offered a distinct perspective on the social change underway by providing insight about new coalitions and the activism of immigrants and refugees in support of BLM.
Sahan Journal has established itself as a meaningful new entry into the Minnesota media scene. It covers health and education beats and offered deep local coverage of the Minneapolis primaries, where 5th District Congresswoman Ilhan Omar faced a significant challenge, and immigrant candidates unseated longtime Minnesota politicians.
Over its first year, Sahan Journal has worked to prove the concept that newsrooms led by BIPOC journalists will create a new kind of journalism and draw in young readers.
The vast majority of our readers are under the age of 40 and 85 percent of our traffic is from mobile users. Young immigrants and other people of color are engaging with the news offered at Sahan Journal because it meets them where they live.
While our mission is to serve the immigrant and refugee communities of Minnesota, we are aware that our coverage travels great distances online. Immigrants, refugees, and other BIPOC communities have not received coverage commensurate with their contributions to the state. We believe stories that represent young immigrants and other people of color as participants in civic life affirm the possibilities of democracy.