Local Initatives, Local Results

In your town, do neighbors always know when the planning commission is making decisions about projects nearby? In Chicago, City Bureau is helping citizens attend public meetings, report on them, and share this information with neighbors. Do you often see voices missing from the public square? In Los Angeles, public radio station KPCC has developed Unheard LA, a program to help local citizens tell and share their stories with each other and the station’s broadcast and digital audiences.

The Wyncote Foundation enlisted 8 Bridges Workshop to write a report on organizations and initiatives that are trying new things in local communities. Building Stronger Communities Through Media: Innovations in Local Journalism, Public Media, and Storytelling profiles nine examples of projects making a difference in local communities with local support.

This new report follows the 2018 Wyncote report profiling nine local grantmakers’ media funding strategies. By providing information about groundbreaking work across the United States, these reports broaden the pool of examples that can inform grantmaking strategy and inspire deeper investment.

Several common themes emerged from funded organizations in the report including:

  • Deeper community engagement: Local media organizations are exploring new forms of community engagement that bring the public into the journalism process and give citizens a greater role in deciding what stories are told and how.

  • Bolder community empowerment: People and communities traditionally left out of mainstream news coverage are finding new ways to amplify stories from their neighborhoods and cultures.

  • Innovation in collaboration: News organizations are finding new and creative ways to work with one another to increase and strengthen local coverage.

  • Diversity, equity, and inclusion: The most consistent theme from the report is the way organizations are working to ensure that the full diversity of local community voices is both heard and served.

For examples of each of these, read more at Trust, Media & Democracy from the Knight Foundation.

Read the full report and see the inspiring and creative work happening in local communities across our nation. The organizations and projects highlighted — and the funders who are furthering this work — give us hope for the future and offer grantmakers new approaches to making a difference “in place.”