Strengthening the Local News Ecosystem, by Vivian Vahlberg


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Digital Strategy for Community Foundations and Mission-Driven Local Organizations, April 4-6

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Strengthening the Local News Ecosystem, by Vivian Vahlberg

  1. 1. Strengtheningthe Local News Ecosystem Vivian Vahlberg April 6, 2013
  2. 2. Today• What we’ve done• How we evolved• Ideas for you• Questions and discussion
  3. 3. CCT’s KCIC Journey Civic Community Inno-Portal News vation Matters Project
  4. 4. Business Models Are Changing 4
  5. 5. There’s Less Traditional Local Coverage 5
  6. 6. How we started“An interactive portal for Chicago residents to access and contribute information about critical public services and civic activities”
  7. 7. The State of Chicago’s Online News• Surprising vitality –At least 200 online news sites, blogs or newsletters –New ventures launching every week –Some real national leaders – editorially and technologically 7
  8. 8. Chicago’s Online News Ecosystem• Incredible variety – Region wide – and neighborhood – General audience – and targeted – Known new brands – and upstarts – Original reporting – and aggregation – Variety of techniques 8
  9. 9. An Ecosystem -- in Transition 48 TV 479 > 900 132 Print Outlets Radio >153 Online
  10. 10. Concerns About The New News Ecosystem• Great promise – but not yet sustainable• Don’t compete with the innovators – help them develop• Quality 10
  11. 11. COMMUNITY NEWS MATTERS!A Fund To:• Increase flow of truthful, accurate, insightful local news and information now• Help develop models for the future• Speed progress with learning community• Boost Chicago as lab for the future of news
  12. 12. CNM: A team effort• Chicago Community Trust• Knight Foundation• MacArthur Foundation• McCormick Foundation• Driehaus Foundation• Woods Fund of Chicago
  13. 13. An innovator’s mindset Learn! Test! Tweak!
  14. 14. CNM• News That Matters consumer and leader study• Realizing Potential innovator study• Ad network feasibility study• Evaluations
  15. 15. NEW NEWS 9, 10 & 12• 2009: ID 200; profile & rank 60• 2010: ID 300, profile ops of 121• 2012: ID 476; look at 191; rank 50 –Plus sidebars
  16. 16. Lots of Ahas!• New News• Linking• News That Matters• Realizing Potential
  17. 17. NEWS THAT MATTERS What we learned–Most feel informed & feel they can get info–BUT half don’t know enough to vote–Big divide by income
  18. 18. Evaluator• More media awareness & linking• More awareness of influencers• Self-discovery by grantees• Identified opportunities to address issues• Raised visibility of notable sites• Informed decision-making
  19. 19. Some ideas for you• Copy or adapt what we did.• Scan your landscape: start with your networks• Don’t just look at news providers
  20. 20. Mini-Grants• 64 awards• $2,000 - $60,000 each• Total $897,000• To non-profits, individuals & for- profits
  21. 21. Mini-Grants• 15 Innovator Awards –Increase flow of good info –Help innovators with new models –Learn from it
  22. 22. Mini-Grants• 45 Local Reporting Awards –Stimulate burst of coverage –Develop new ways to spread info –Focus on low-income• 4 to support organizations
  23. 23. Mini-grant examplesAustin Talks: Teen DeathsIHM: Awareness of Health ReformIn These Times: Class DividesThe Gate: Undocumented YouthOrtiz: Too Young to Die
  24. 24. Mini-grants: Lessons• To achieve diversity, look for different kinds of expertise• A little money CAN matter• Value beyond dollars
  25. 25. Mini-grant ideasDo it!• Great way to experiment, learn, build community• Decide focus, issue RFP• Choose judges strategically• Expect duds
  26. 26. CNM: Sector Support• Convening• Ad Network• Innovators, Funders & Academics
  27. 27. Evaluator’s Assessment communitynewsmatters.orgOUTCOMES• Achieved diverse coverage of underserved• Illuminated what was happening and what was needed• Demonstrated power of foundation to change tenor of dialog
  28. 28. Civic Innovation in ChicagoLook systemically at public &private information that can beused to engage residents, solvecommunity problems & increasegovernment accountability
  29. 29. Civic Innovation ProjectAgain, an evolution:• CMAP• Metro Pulse• Smart Chicago• Civic Innovation in Chicago
  30. 30. Civic Innovation in Chicago• Work with govt. to make data available• Help government use data• Identify tech solutions to boost performance & solutions
  31. 31. Civic Innovation in Chicago• Engage non-profits to find data- based solutions• Provide open gov news & analysis
  32. 32. CIC: Also a partnership• Knight & CCT• State, city, county• Ill. Science & Tech Coalition• MacArthur Foundation• Local non-profits• Local journalists
  33. 33. CCT’s KCIC Journey Civic Community Inno-Portal News vation Matters Project
  34. 34.
  35. 35. Thank you!