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The future of local news is “civic information,” not “declining legacy systems,” says new report
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Jan. 19, 2022, 2:33 p.m.
LINK: democracy-sos.org  ➚   |   Posted by: Hanaa' Tameez   |   January 19, 2022

If the news industry is going to help preserve and improve American democracy, political journalism should do more to inform voters and serve up coverage around communities: That’s the idea behind the new Democracy SOS Fellowship that will be run by The Solutions Journalism Network and Hearken with support from Trusting News, Good Conflict and the Poynter Institute.

The fellowship will run for nine months and provide teams (of at least one reporter and one editor) in 20 newsrooms with stipends of up to $5,000 each to “gain expertise in how to report with and for, not just about, their communities; prove out practices that heighten civic knowledge and participation; and build trust with audiences, especially communities that have long been marginalized and stigmatized.”

All news outlets are eligible to apply, but priority will be given to newsrooms in the swing states of Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Wisconsin. Of the course of the nine months, fellowship participants will be required to participate 11 core training workshops and two “sprints” to apply what they’ve learned to their coverage and implement change in their newsrooms.

These are some of the goal outcomes of the fellowship:

The program will help newsrooms transform their coverage:

FROM candidate/horse-race focused coverage TO constituent-focused coverage;

FROM journalists deciding what information the public gets TO journalists listening to the public to cover the information they’re missing;

FROM problem-focused reporting TO solutions-focused reporting;

FROM assuming the public knows how journalism is made TO explaining how journalism is made;

FROM conflict-oriented reporting that contributes to polarization TO “good conflict”-oriented reporting that builds understanding;

FROM undercovering/miscovering communities TO inclusive, equitable coverage of communities;

FROM coverage of democracy that revolves around one day (Election Day) TO year-round coverage of democracy (with elections being one important event).

Learn more about the Democracy SOS fellowship here.

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