Programs and Projects 2010-12

Media Restoration Project – The Community Reporting Alliance has partnered with the Livingston Manor Free Library in upstate New York to restore local news to a location where both the town and the high school newspaper were recently shut down. Manor Ink is a print, online and social media news vehicle created by the town's youth for the purpose of keeping the whole community informed. Manor Ink has received the enthusiastic embrace of the community plus support from two foundations. It is seen by many as a model for the future of news in rural America.

Read all about it. "Although some people lament that printed newspapers are taking their final curtain call, the town of Livingston Manor is proving those gloom-and-doomers wrong." – Hudson Valley Magazine, August 2012

101 Stories – In a pilot project aimed at creating more in-depth local news at small outlets, the Community Reporting Alliance launched 101 Stories to help fund news resporting that might nor otherwise happen. Our partner in the pilot stage, The Watershed Post in the Catskill Mountains of New York, resulted in the acclaimed Faces of the Flood series, published by the online newspaper one year after the historic devastation of Hurricane Irene in the region.

Sustainable News Exploration – The Community Reporting Alliance is working to create sustainable models for the future of news at the local level, and we seek to extend these models to other news organizations. Our attendance at the Ford Foundation-funded boot camp for new models of sustainable journalism at the Poynter Institute helped create a foundation for understanding viable new directions for news. In 2011, a grant from New York City-based foundation allowed us to work on a business plan aimed at boosting revenues among ethnic and community news providers.

Training for Community Reporters – When Pocono Record (PA) editor Christopher Mele called upon us last year to help with his newsroom training program, we devised a three-session course designed to help the staff dig deeper into their local beats and to use fresh eyes toward their daily assignments. The result was News Knowledge, a program on which his staff could build. At the same time, we began working on a manual for community news reporters that could be used in the field or in training sessions in order to keep skills fresh and keep ethics at the forefront of our work.

Collaborative Publishing – When the team at the Gerry Foundation in upstate New York wanted to tell the story of the first decade of their community renewal program, we partnered with them to provide a journalistic approach to their first-ever in-depth publication. Sullivan Renaissance magazine — a limited print edition and digital version — chronicles ten years of grassroots action made possible this growing grant-funded program. It’s another way we’ve been able to deliver empowering information for and about communities.

The Fund for Local News – Over the past few years, the most common request from local news providers has been a simple one: Can you help us survive? It’s a tall order in some cases, yet it’s at the core to our mission. We established the Fund for Local News in 2011 so that we could reach out to grassroots donors as well as foundations to help us support news coverage at the local level, training for community news reporters and our exploration of sustainable business models. The Fund is now our primary channel for donations and grants. Can you help ensure a future for local news? Find out how.

Best Practices Watch – The Community Reporting Alliance monitors the local news industry for best practices in order to broaden the base of support for original reporting. How have those news organizations which are now non-profit (such as Adirondack Explorer, Voice of San Diego and MinnPost) done it? Can these be tailored to other communities?