Day 2 Lightning Talks: The evolution and future of the Local Journalism Initiative and its Delaware Journalism Collaborative
4:02PM Jun 20, 2023
public opinion survey
Okay, awesome. So next up Allison Levine and Darel LaPrade are going to come talk about the local journalism initiative. And it's a Delaware Journalism Collaborative. So come on up.
Okay, is that on? Somebody? Not for me? Yeah. Thank you. Okay. All right. Hi, I'm Allison Taylor Levine, the president and founder of the Delaware Local Journalism Initiative. And this is Darrell abroad, who is the project manager for our Delaware journalism collaborative.
The local journalism initiative has a series of projects that we started, I actually have a day job too. I work for the Delaware Community Foundation, and started the internship program that we run in partnership with the DCF. And that is a program that is working to deepen the pipeline of reporters from underserved underrepresented communities. And we place college students in different newsrooms around the state. And in the first year, it was a collaborative internship they all had to share, to try to start getting folks to get used to working together because they had never done that before in Delaware. And we really like each other very much. So that's getting better. Then we partnered with my good friend Fiona Morgan out here to run a statewide Ecosystem Assessment to kind of get our arms around what's going on in Delaware. And that
study is actually on our website, if anybody is looking for it. And Fiona and I really love to talk about how that process went, because we talked to almost 300 People throughout Delaware and learn just a ton about what people want and need from local news and information in Delaware, and heard loud and clear that one of the messages was they wanted us to work together better. And that also helped us to support the Delaware journalism collaborative, which is funded by the solutions journalism network. So thank you to Liza and team for your help with that. And Darryl is going to tell you a little bit about what our collaborative is doing.
Thank you, Alison.
As Alison mentioned, my name is Darel LaPrade, and I got my first job in the media in 1975. So I may be the oldest guy in the room.
The mission of our collaborative is to is reporting a community engagement to explore the toll that polarization takes on local communities. And in my mind, there's no more important question for a journalist to be reporting on, at least in this historic moment. Our partners are investigating or the divisive nature of racial, political, geographic and cultural polarization. And because we are looking at this through the lens of solution journalism, we're also advancing and suggesting possible suggestions for how Delawareans can work together more effectively. As Alison mentioned, the collaborative was formed in 2022 by the local journalism initiative, and we were underwritten by to two year grant from the solutions journalism network, Delaware's news media landscape is, in some ways, very similar to what you see in other states. But it's also in some ways different. We no longer have a daily newspaper in this day, that two dailies have now reduced the number of days that they publish. And we have to change chains, one larger kinetic chain and then a smaller chain. And that chain newspapers are the ones that have really been shrinking over the last two or three years. They've killed titles and reduce their newsrooms. But we have a very vital network of independent publishers. And it seems to me that our collaborative is going to go a long way to increasing their newsrooms, the size of their newsrooms. And I think that our goal really is to bring those independent publishers into the network and into our collaborative and to really help them along. What we're attempting to do is to provide, as Ben said here, has been said here several times, multiple entry points into the stories that we report. We have 15 partners in the collaborative and they include newspapers, Public Radio, we have a little broadcast studio and we have podcasters. And we have cyber outlets as well. So we are frankly feeling our way along. We did a pretty remarkable story. In November of Um 2022 that I want to just mention the the Delaware has something called Return day. And it is an event considered unique in the United States. And it's celebrated on the Thursday after Election Day. And voters, politicians, and others gather in Georgetown, Delaware to hear the voting returns certified. And this tradition goes back to 1812. It is symbolically the place and literally the place where the hatchet is buried. There's a big box of sand, politicians gather around it, there's a hatchet, they bury the hatchet. So, if there is a place that is or an event that is more symbolic of getting rid of the polarization that takes place after the election, it's returned day, but not this year. The part of the tradition of return day is that there is a carriage parade that goes through Georgetown Delaware, and the carriages are housed at a at the Nutter D Marvel carriage museum if you can imagine such a thing. And there is a Confederate battle flag that flies there as a memorial to the Delaware soldiers who fought for the South. And as you can also imagine, that caused a up Roy this year, and there were politicians, both Democrats and Republicans that refused to take part in the parade, and also refused to take part and return data in general. So we reported this out. And it was a terrific series, we did a historic piece historical piece on the background of return day, and what it's meant through the years and how it's changed. And then we did a in depth piece on how people reacted to the controversy that surrounded it this year. We've also conducted a public opinion survey. And I was delighted to hear Rob's presentation and talk some to him about this already. We put 50 questions to 500 of the state's adults that were selected scientifically to reflect our state's population. And the this survey was conducted by the Center for Opinion Research at Franklin Marshall College. It's given us 1000s of data points that we will now use for reporting. I am running out of time, but I think she said Rob went over. So that's pretty good. So we do have plans for the future. We're going to be doing stories on land use. And we're going to be doing stories on the police and their relationship to the public media, media literacy and changing political attitudes in Delaware. Delaware is now blue state. But some of the data that came from our public opinion survey indicates that it is moving quickly to a purple state. So Allison.
All right. So we're doing our internship program, our ecosystem assessment, the collaborative and I'll just quickly tell you our next big thing is called Spotlight Delaware, which we're working to launch sometime later this year. And it is going to be a collaborative nonprofit newsroom for Delaware that's focused on the impact on impact of public policy on different communities throughout the state based on what we learned in our ecosystem assessment, and building on all those muscles that we've been building through the collaborative that Darrell is leading. So keep an eye out for that and check out our website. And sorry we went over time but thank you so much.