Beacon Press: What Works in Community News
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What Works in Community News

Media Startups, News Deserts, and the Future of the Fourth Estate

Authors: Ellen Clegg, Dan Kennedy

A groundbreaking study of the journalism startups that are solving the local news crisis one community at a time

A must-read for activists, entrepreneurs, and journalists who want to start local news outlets in their communities

Local news is essential to democracy. Meaningful participation in civic life is impossible without it. However, local news is in crisis. According to one widely cited study, some 2,500 newspapers have closed over the last generation. And it is often marginalized communities of color who have been left without the day-to-day journalism they need to govern themselves in a democracy.

Veteran journalists Ellen Clegg and Dan Kennedy cut through the pessimism surrounding this issue, showing readers that new, innovative journalism models are popping up across the country to fill news deserts and empower communities. What Works in Community News examines more than a dozen of these projects, including:

  • Sahan Journal, a digital publication dedicated to reporting on Minnesota’s immigrant and refugee communities;
  • MLK50: Justice Through Journalism, a nonprofit news outlet in Memphis, TN, focused on poverty, power, and public policy;
  • New Haven Independent / WNHH / La Voz Hispana de Connecticut, a digital news project that expanded its reach in the New Haven community through radio and a Spanish-language partnership;
  • Storm Lake Times Pilot, a print newspaper in rural Iowa innovating with a hybrid for-profit/nonprofit model; and
  • Texas Tribune, once a pioneering upstart, now one of the most well-known—and successful—digital newsrooms in the country.

Through a blend of on-the-ground reporting and interviews, Clegg and Kennedy show how these operations found seed money and support, and how they hired staff, forged their missions, and navigated challenges from the pandemic to police intimidation to stand as the last bastion of collective truth—and keep local news in local hands.
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“For readers who despair at the collapse of traditional media nationwide, this survey is a bolster; for journalists looking to create such viable news sources in their own communities, it’s a highly useful road map.”
Booklist, Starred Review

The Local News Crisis Will Be Solved One Community at a Time

New Jersey: A Digital Innovator Joins Forces with a Public Television Powerhouse

Minneapolis, Minnesota: How Heated Competition Is Reviving Local News

Steven Waldman:
The president of Rebuild Local News outlines his vision for revitalizing community journalism.

Bedford, Massachusetts: A Homegrown News Site Comes into Its Own

Denver, Colorado: The Sun Rises over a Complex Media Landscape

Kara Meyberg Guzman:
A former Alden editor talks about her reinvention as a publisher and her work as a local news advocate.

Memphis, Tennessee: A Digital Newsroom Holds Power to Account

Mendocino County, California: A Rural Startup Seeks to Find Its Footing

Meredith Clark, PhD:
What does the future of local news look like? More diverse, with an emphasis on social change.

New Haven, Connecticut: A Longtime Digital News Project Takes to the Airwaves

Storm Lake, Iowa: A Print Newspaper with a Voice Fights for Survival

Elizabeth Hansen Shapiro, PhD:
A scholar and serial entrepreneur looks to the future.

Texas: A High-Profile Behemoth Prepares for Its Second Act

The Future Is Already Here


What Works in Community News

ISBN: 978-080700994-9
Publication Date: 1/9/2024
Size:6 x 9 Inches (US)
Price:  $29.95
Format: Cloth
Availability: In stock.
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