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 challenging status quos across the country, from an activist video feed in Minneapolis to a watchdog news site in Memphis

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. Studies show that voter participation is lower and corruption more pervasive in “news deserts”—places that lack reliable coverage.

Local news is in crisis. According to one widely cited study, some 2,500 newspapers have closed over the last generation, gutted by plummeting ad sales, the new economics of online content, corporate news chains, and predatory hedge funds. 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, 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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What Works in Community News

ISBN: 978-080700994-9
Publication Date: 1/9/2024
Size:6 x 9 Inches (US)
Price:  $27.95
Format: Cloth
Not Yet Published
Will Ship On: January 2024
(Backorder policy)