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issues matter most to you in the Providence area? Are you receiving the news
and information you need about those issues? Share your vision for local news
during a conversation with the Solutions Journalism Network, United Way, and
is pleased to be participating in this discussion, along with other invited
This discussion is taking place at the United
Way office and is open to the public:
Thurs., Feb. 13 – 6 to 8pm
50 Valley St., Providence
Light snacks will be provided, as well as an
opportunity to voice your opinions via a news consumer survey.
participant will receive a $10 Amazon gift card as thanks.
from local news organizations in the immediate Providence area have been
invited to attend. With questions, please contact lead researcher Rachel Edens
The Solutions Journalism Network is an
independent nonprofit, which supports journalism that examines responses to
social problems — in addition to the problems themselves. More information
They would also like your help in completing this SURVEY – click here, now:
What is the SJN’s New England Local News Ecosystem Project?
Like the rest of the country, journalism in New England
is in a time of transition.
Perhaps most notably, in 2014, The Providence
Journal in Rhode Island went through a brutal series of layoffs after
being acquired by GateHouse. Just
last month, the daily newspaper in Biddeford, Maine (The Journal
Tribune) closed after a
But that’s not the whole story. This past April, The
Boston Globe announced its
expansion of coverage of Rhode Island. A
month later, The Globe became the first local newspaper to
have more digital than print subscribers. In Vermont, VT Digger is
a rising star in nonprofit news.
In New Hampshire, a library in Weare started
producing a newspaper for their community after Weare’s only daily newspaper
shut down. Needless to say, New England is a complicated and robust region —
filled with stories of crisis and hope for journalism.
We have a lot to learn about the state of New England
news, which is why the Solutions Journalism Network is excited to announce a
new effort — the New England Local News Ecosystem Project.
Funded by a grant from the Barr
Foundation, the New England Local News Ecosystem Project seeks to
understand the issues most urgent to New Englanders, and whether New Englanders
say they find the information they need on these issues. The gaps between those
two questions could lead to powerful opportunities to improve journalism here.
Essentially, we’re trekking around New England and talking to people in
different communities to learn about New England’s information needs.
The purpose of this project is two-fold. For starters, SJN
wants to serve the needs of journalists and news organizations in the region —
and listening to newsrooms and community members will help us do that better.
And secondly, we’d like to contribute to the vibrant and growing field of
information-needs research. We think local news ecosystem studies like these
are so important because they arm journalists with information to better
understand and produce stories for the communities they serve.
A few other information ecosystem studies have inspired
and guided our work, including this set below:
Over the past several weeks, the group convened focus
groups in New England towns and cities to learn about peoples’ information
needs, the news they use, and how satisfied they are with these sources of
information. Providence will be the last of these groups to be held at this
The communities that are being studied are:
Choosing to just focus on eight areas in New England was
difficult. We looked for a set of communities that would represent the unique
set of strengths and challenges of news in New England. To do that, we looked
for a range of three primary factors: basic demographics, issues currently
covered by local news, and the current availability of local news in each area.
We were also careful to include at least one city per state in New England and
to respect the large population size of Massachusetts, which is roughly double
that of the second most populated state in New England — Connecticut.
We’re excited to share our process with you and to keep
you posted on updates along the way. Next up, you can expect a post on how we
started to map “bright spots” in newsroom coverage and experimentation in New
If you have any questions about our project in the
meantime, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This local news ecosystem research is supported by a
grant from the Barr Foundation. The Barr Foundation’s mission is to invest in
human, natural, and creative potential, serving as thoughtful stewards and catalysts.
Based in Boston, Barr focuses regionally, and selectively engages nationally,
working in partnership with nonprofits, foundations, the public sector, and
civic and business leaders to elevate the arts, advance solutions for climate
change, and connect all students to success in high school and beyond. For more
information, visit barrfoundation.org or