Giving Compass’ Take:
• This article from Belt Magazine describes the formation of City Bureau, a local journalism lab that aspires to empower the community and give citizens more agency in the stories that are told.
• How can we encourage more people-oriented media efforts such as this and build more trust for journalism?
At its best, journalism is a crucial component of civic engagement, exposing wrongdoing and galvanizing citizens to act for the greater good. Done wrong, it can sow division, lose the trust of the public, and —perhaps worse, for a city infamous for corruption and where mayoral election voter turnout has fallen below 50 percent in the last two decades—engender apathy. So how do we ensure the vitality of journalism in an era of widespread mistrust of institutions?
One month before the release of the Laquan McDonald video [dashcam footage of a black teenager being shot sixteen times by a white police officer in Chicago], myself and three friends — Darryl Holliday, a reporter, Andrea Hart, an educator, and Harry Backlund, a publisher — had co-founded City Bureau, a local journalism lab. Our guiding idea was simple: in order to make journalism better for democracy, we have to make journalism more democratic.
Our goal was to tackle the industry’s elitism and lack of diversity — creating an inclusive, community-centered program, where trained journalists of all stripes work with people directly affected by issues like poverty, unaffordable housing, police violence and inadequate education, to produce the news and information useful to them. But more importantly, we sought to show people how journalism can be used, by anyone, as a tool to inform their neighbors, tell stories and make change in their communities.
Read the full article about reimagining local journalism by Bettina Chang at Belt Magazine.
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