Community news organizations, whether newspapers or websites, traditionally have one-sided relationships with their readers. Reporters go out, write the stories they feel are important to the community they serve and hope their readers will enjoy, appreciate and somehow benefit from their work.
Josh Stearns and Molly de Aguiar of Local News Lab, an initiative of the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, embarked on an 18-month project to find out ways to not just help newsrooms better engage with their communities but find new economic opportunities to keep themselves afloat.
They wanted to “see what sustainability looks like for local journalism,” de Aguiar said. “This report takes a deep dive …on revenue streams and community engagement, documenting all the business experimentation we’ve done and the community engagement projects we’re piloting.”
The work focused on six newsrooms in the New Jersey-New York City area, ranging from a one-person hyper local news website from a former reporter