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Use Community-Based Journalism

What is it? Community-based journalism is news reporting focused on community-specific needs and interests.  Usually associated with a nonprofit entity, this type of journalism is less focused on world and national events, or selling advertising.  Instead, a primary goal is to help create a more informed and engaged population.  Community-based reporters research and share stories that impact the region, and provide opportunities for inhabitants to discuss the impacts of these issues.  This form of journalism provides an in-depth resource that helps people better understand the trends and issues in their communities.  As a result, such place-specific media practitioners hope that better informed community members will make better decisions about the future of their cities and counties.

How has it been used? One example of this type of journalism is the Connecticut Mirror, a local newspaper owned by the Connecticut News Project, Inc.  The project began when a small group of concerned individuals felt that the traditional media sources in their area did not focus enough on investigative journalism.  Over time, the group decided to form the organization and even hired experienced news reporters to participate.  Their goal was to serve as a watchdog for important and pressing community issues.  The Mirror serves as a non-partisan news source that seeks to be a resource for all people in Connecticut who wish to be better informed.  The papers covers any events and issues that might impact Connecticut residents, especially if underreported in other media streams. By sharing this kind of in-depth information, the Mirror is able to hold policymakers more accountable and engage more people in the political process.  (Source: The Connecticut Mirror)

Further Reading

The Hub

Informing Communities: Sustaining Democracy in the Digital Age – The Knight Commission on the Information Needs of Communities in a Democracy

Reinventing Journalism – California Watch