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As they shrink, are local newspapers protecting their “iron core” of local government coverage? This paper says no
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Feb. 9, 2015, 2:35 p.m.
LINK: medium.com  ➚   |   Posted by: Joshua Benton   |   February 9, 2015

Melody Kramer (who’ll be joining us here in Cambridge later this year as a Nieman Visiting Fellow) had a terrific piece up on Medium over the weekend that’s worth a scroll-and-read. She’s been doing a number of projects recently that aim to get outside the news-industry bubble and talk to non-journalists about how they might want their news delivered. This time, the topic is homepages, which have been declared dead more times than Abe Vigoda.

Last September, I went to Chicago for a conference. On the third day of the conference, I slipped away to my friend Max’s apartment on a mission. The mission was to gather together a lot of very smart people who don’t work in news — and ask them to design a new news homepage.

From there, she runs through 64 different visions of what a homepage could be — some long in existence, some little more than napkin scribbles. Basically, she and some friends saved you a brainstorming session; go take advantage of that. (“If you’re trying to come up with new ideas, invite people in who DO NOT work in your profession.”) A key point here: Many of these ideas, though tagged as “homepage” visions, could work on smaller scales on your news site.

Mel has had a number of roles in the world of public radio, most recently on the social media desk at NPR, but today was her first day at the federal digital services agency 18F.

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As they shrink, are local newspapers protecting their “iron core” of local government coverage? This paper says no
Newspapers have all had to make cuts. But it doesn’t look like they’ve favored the beats that are most important to democracy — watchdog coverage of local governments — over other kinds of news.
Keep your pants on, everyone (and quit defending the male journalists who don’t)
Plus: The SacBee wants those sweet, sweet clicks, the Dallas News Guild wins its vote to unionize, and “when bison merit 80% of the airtime afforded to Asian American history, it calls into question not only the leadership of public television but also who gets to tell these stories, and why.”
How the Minneapolis Star Tribune made the best of a canceled state fair
Carve-your-own butter sculptures, Minnesota trivia, and cheese curd-flavored chapstick were among the Star Tribune’s virtual offerings. (Replicating the llama costume contest proved a bit too difficult.)