4 ways local newsrooms can forge deeper relationships with the communities they serve | What’s New in Publishing

There is a desire for smart local news. The problem is to find ways to increase profitability.

As the polarization of the US media and “#politics” have reached fever, many news consumers, “swept up in the political news,” a feature of the recent New York Times, are fully coordinating and responding.

In recent years, the worldwide consolidation of media distrust may also be the cause. According to a recent Gallup poll, only 13 percent of Americans say they trust the media in “bulk” and 28 percent trust the media in a “fair amount”.

But the evidence suggests a favorable situation for local media.

According to Poynter’s 2018 Media Confidence Survey and a recent Night Foundation-Gallup study, trust in local media for each media is higher than national media.

Only 31% of Americans say that national news media reports trust “great” or “almost”, while 45% of Americans say they are the same for local news agencies.

45% is still not good. There is something to be clear. This effort is complicated because many newsrooms are struggling financially.

Despite this background, it is optimistic. I have been researching and researching local news for 20 years. Local media outlets believe that they are in a position to creatively accommodate an audience burned by beltway drama.

There are four ways local newsrooms can deepen their relationship with the community.

1. Interact with the reader

Newsroom employment has declined 25% since 2008 (equivalent to 28,000 jobs) – there are fewer boots on the floor. Nevertheless, the opportunity to communicate with the audience is greater than ever.

One way is to look online and in real life.

Journalists can think about opportunities for face-to-face interaction with their readers. Some media began to hold public editorial meetings. Journalists discuss stories they are developing or talk with the public. There is also an opportunity to communicate with readers via social media through “Facebook Live” or Reddit’s Q & A (“Ask Me Anything”).

This effort is important because local journalists are often the only journalists that people meet. As a result, they can serve as proxies for wider industry awareness.

2. Teach the process

Another way to build trust is to explain how journalism works.

Research shows that the audience does not understand how journalism was created or does not understand the terms distributed by some journalists.

For example, according to a 2018 survey, 60% of respondents said reporters get paid from sources, sometimes or very often. Joey MeyerThe head of the ‘Trusted News’ project assumes that when journalists talk about “anonymous sources,” many people don’t know where they are coming from.

Solving this is not difficult and by doing so you can increase your confidence in journalism practices.

For example, in December 2018, Oregonist journalists published a series about their relationship with about five alien crimes and convicted murderer John Ackroyd. But they published their work and did not wait for the award. We also shared articles on how to report, along with annotated versions of each series, along with links to footnotes and related documents.

3. Provide the reader with what they want

According to a recent article, without this type of transparency, trust in local news is “vulnerable to perceptions such as partisan prejudice that threatens trust in the national media.”

Another way to get rid of this is to give control to the audience.

In an article published by Harvard’s Nieman Lab, newsroom consultant Jennifer Brandel and editor Mónica Guzmán argue that it is important for journalists to shift their approach to coverage.

They will not start with our ideas at future editorial meetings. We will start with the information gap that the public has shown and focus on filling that gap. ”

Having the audience submit questions and listen to their needs can actually result in stories that journalists may not have produced in other ways.

The Knight Foundation’s “Recent Research” highlighted the opportunity to apply this principle. Nearly two-thirds of respondents want more information on topics such as drug addiction, K-12 education, the environment, and planned public work. They also want local outlets to better handle those who power them.

4. Encourage readers to pay

But the uncertain finances of many small newsrooms are a major hurdle for experimenting and giving readers what they crave.

Reductions in imports mean that one-fifth, or more, 1,800 local newspapers have been closed since 2004.

Most readers simply don’t know how scary the situation at some stores is.

According to the Pew Research Center, 71% of Americans say, “I think the local news media is doing well financially.” Only 14% of these people can explain why they support local news media financially. can.

However, the readers pointed out that if a local newspaper is the only newspaper in the region and there is a risk of closing it is more likely to subscribe or support the local newspaper.

New research shows that audiences cherish local news, and 61% of Americans are doing “excellent” or “good” work for local news agencies to deal with what is happening in their area. But the Knight Foundation’s latest report, “Posting Price Lists in Local News,” also found few readers currently paying.

Obviously many readers are not sure how dangerous it is. Therefore, newsrooms should make better examples of the value of their work and why they need support.

Civil orders

Until then, local outlets will have to do more for less.

It’s not easy. But even the smallest newsrooms, like Oregon’s & # 39; Cottage Grove Sentinel & # 39 ;, were able to successfully experiment with the “new format” and how to communicate with readers.

Americans believe local news sources are accurate, useful, reliable and caring. But without a vibrant local news industry, “the number of employees is reduced and citizens do not have to participate in the elections.

“The decline in local news is for environmental democracy because climate change is for the environment,” said Tim Franklin, Northwestern University’s Medill Local News Initiative. “This is the slow motion crisis we’ve just started.”

There is clearly a desire for hitting and relevant local news. The biggest problem is how to make sure that local journalists pay their bills and do their best at the same time.

This article has been republished under “Conversations” in the Creative Commons license.

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