🇺🇸 5 resources to ramp up your election reporting

Disinformation campaigns. Voter fatigue. Midcycle redistricting.

There’s a lot at stake in the 2024 election, and local independent news outlets are providing trusted, relevant information to their respective communities.

One example is The Texas Tribune’s new “We the Texans” initiative, which centers deep community listening and nonpartisan coverage. Another is Montana Free Press’ state-based voting guide that’s brimming with information on candidates. And Mississippi Free Press continues to build on its comprehensive “Trusted Elections” coverage. 

We look forward to seeing more efforts over the coming months. Scroll down to our resources section for election-specific trainings and guides that can help your newsroom prepare. 

If you’re already working on an election reporting initiative, hit reply and tell us about it. We’ll share some more examples in an upcoming newsletter.

– Hayley Milloy, LION’s marketing manager

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12 resources for independent publishers

1. Build trust in “purple” states. If you’re a journalist or newsroom executive in one of these swing states –– AZ, GA, MI, PA, WI, or NC –– tune in to an expert briefing session led by Aspen Digital, a nonpartisan organization focused on media policy, to learn about the current state of the partisan divide. (TODAY at noon ET)

2. Prepare for awards season. Join INN for a webinar on how to design a winning awards pitch package featuring ProPublica Senior Editor Ziva Branstetter. (TODAY at 1 p.m. ET)

3. Refresh your poll data knowledge. This free webinar from the National Press Club Journalism Institute will cover how polling organizations conduct their surveys so you can better inform your community during the 2024 election season. (Jan. 26)

4. Set up DMARC. If you send 5,000 or more emails daily, you need to have a DMARC policy in place by Feb. 1. Here’s some advice from Inbox Collective on setting it up. 

5. Jumpstart your corporate giving. Johanna Derlega, the founder of Beech Strategies and former chief revenue officer of The 19th, will join the Lenfest Institute for a virtual discussion on corporate giving strategies, including how to use design thinking to create products that businesses will want to support. (Feb. 1)

6. Explore your newsletter strategy. North Carolina local news organizations can sign up for the 2024 NC Newsletter Challenge Boot Camp, a six-week deep dive into launching a new newsletter or revamping an existing one. (Apply by Feb. 2)

7. Get the facts on firearms violence. Join the National Press Club Journalism Institute for a virtual conversation among experts and journalists on where to find the best data and research on firearms and gun deaths. (Feb. 9)

8. Celebrate NJ local news. The Center for Cooperative Media is accepting submissions and nominations for the 2024 Excellence in NJ Local News Awards, which celebrate the exceptional work of local newsrooms in New Jersey. (Apply by Feb. 16)

9. Prioritize accessible and inclusive coverage. The Arc, the largest national nonprofit advocating for and with people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, has created a guide to help journalists highlight disability issues in election coverage.

10. Center community voices and values. The International Journalists’ Network offers four tips on engaging diverse audiences when reporting on elections.

11. Check all your (safety) boxes. Election SOS, a project managed by Hearken with the support of Trusting News, has developed three checklists for digital and physical safety while covering elections.

12. Revisit your newsletter metrics. Inbox Collective has created a list of 25 core metrics to help you measure your newsletter success, starting with the “most misrepresented” one –– your open rate.

What we’re reading

L.A. Times layoffs. The 142-year-old news outlet laid off more than 20% of its employees this week, at least 115 people, due to previous and projected financial losses. (The Los Angeles Times)

No going back. City Bureau Co-Founder Darryl Holliday explains why the U.S. needs “multi-sector media reform and a new, non-commercial media movement” that centers civic media, which equips people with the information they need to improve their daily lives. (The Art of Association)

Test of fortitude. How independent outlets are slowing the spread of news deserts in Washington state, and what happened when one started covering controversies. (Spoiler: it increased community support). (Editor & Publisher)

Next stop, the Senate. The PRESS Act, which protects journalists from being forced to name their sources in federal court and stops the federal government from spying on journalists through their technology providers, was unanimously passed by the House of Representatives. (Editor & Publisher)

Services support. The Lenfest Local News Infrastructure Fund, which makes critical technology infrastructure and services more accessible to local news publishers, will be piloted by Newspack and BlueLena. (Full disclosure: This program was initially housed at LION and moved to Lenfest). (The Lenfest Institute)

LIONs in the news

This week, we witnessed what it can look like for a community to rally behind the need for independent local news. 

Following the sale of The Baltimore Sun, local residents are stepping up in support of other area publications, including The Baltimore Banner and The Baltimore Beat.

The Banner’s editor-in-chief, Kimi Yoshino, said it added an average of 500 new subscribers a day in the three days after the sale, and The Beat’s editor-in-chief, Lisa Snowden, said it had raised nearly $10,000 after launching a fundraiser in response to the Sun news.

“We’re taking the opportunity to remind people that we are an independent, trustworthy news source in the Baltimore region — and they are responding,” Yoshino said.

Learn more about each outlet’s response.

After a bleak turn for The Baltimore Sun, independent outlets see a surge in subscribers and attention
“We’re taking the opportunity to remind people that we are an independent, trustworthy news source in the Baltimore region — and they are responding.”
After a bleak turn for The Baltimore Sun, independent outlets see a surge in subscribers and attention
“We’re taking the opportunity to remind people that we are an independent, trustworthy news source in the Baltimore region — and they are responding.”

In other LION member news:

  • Planeta Venus has been selected as one of three recipients for the Wichita Foundation’s Info Challenge, which includes a $30,000 gift to jumpstart operations plus a two-year membership to Tiny News Collective.
  • The American Journalism Project has committed $5.4 million to support local news, and Grist and New York Focus are among the four recipients of these new grants.
  • The Connecticut Mirror is hiring a human services reporter to write daily articles and publish deeper-dive enterprise stories on substantive policy and human-interest issues.
  • Planet Detroit is hiring an audience growth specialist to help build its audience, generate brand awareness, and provide production support. 
  • The Daily Memphian is hiring a chief operating officer to oversee revenue growth, marketing, advertising, and audience development.
  • Following the retirements of founder and publisher John Bebow and long-time senior editor David Zeman, Bridge Michigan has hired Lisa Yanick Litwiller as its new executive editor for innovation and daily news and Laurén Abdel-Razzaq as BridgeDetroit’s new executive director.

How to reach us

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