49 episodes

From Northeastern University's School of Journalism. Local news, the bedrock of democracy, is in crisis. Dan Kennedy of Northeastern University and veteran Boston Globe editor Ellen Clegg talk to journalists, policymakers and entrepreneurs about what's working to keep local news alive.

What Works: The Future of Local News Dan Kennedy and Ellen Clegg

    • News
    • 5.0 • 6 Ratings

From Northeastern University's School of Journalism. Local news, the bedrock of democracy, is in crisis. Dan Kennedy of Northeastern University and veteran Boston Globe editor Ellen Clegg talk to journalists, policymakers and entrepreneurs about what's working to keep local news alive.

    What Works Episode 49 | Crystal Good

    What Works Episode 49 | Crystal Good

    Dan and Ellen talk with Crystal Good, the founder of Black by God, the West Virginian. She's a sixth-generation West Virginian, and she's a storyteller and poet. She has also been a model and an advocate. She describes Black by God as an "emerging news and storytelling organization centering Black voices from the Mountain State." She wants to provide a more nuanced portrayal of Black residents in the Appalachian region.
    Dan and Northeastern graduate student Dakotah Kennedy first heard Crystal Good speak in September at the Radically Rural conference in Keene, New Hampshire — not from the stage but from the audience. Dan and Dakotah wished she had been onstage, invited her onto the podcast, and she graciously agreed. Black by God has a lively website, and publishes periodic print editions. Which Crystal seems to deliver herself.
    Dan has a Quick Take on social media. It's in free fall. Is that good for local news? Bad? Or does it just mean a changed environment that they’re all going to have to navigate? Ellen's Quick Take is on a hyperlocal mogul named Mark Adams. He's expanding his empire into Montana.


    • 48 min
    What Works Episode 48 | Mary Margaret White

    What Works Episode 48 | Mary Margaret White

    Dan and Ellen talk with Mary Margaret White, the CEO of Mississippi Today, a nonprofit digital news outlet that has been covering the state for more than six years. The staff has a robust presence at the statehouse in Jackson, and provides cultural and sports coverage, as well. 
    Mary Margaret is a Mississippi native. She has a bachelor’s in English and journalism and a master’s in Southern Studies from the University of Mississippi. She also spent almost 10 years working for the state, with jobs in arts and tourism. Her work has appeared in The Listening Post Collective, The New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture and on Mississippi Public Broadcasting radio.
    Dan has a Quick Take on a major transition at the New Haven Independent. Last week the indefatigable founder, Paul Bass, announced he was stepping aside as editor of the Independent. The new editor will be Tom Breen, currently the managing editor. Luckily, Bass isn't going anywhere but will continue to play a role. Ellen's Quick Take is on another big transition at the Texas Tribune. Economist Sonal Shah is becoming CEO at the Tribune in January. Shah, who has had leadership roles at Google, the White House, and other high-impact nonprofits, replaces co-founder Evan Smith, who is taking a role as senior adviser to the Emerson Collective. It's a big transition at a pioneering nonprofit newsroom. Smith says he'll continue to spread the local news gospel in his new role. 

    • 29 min
    What Works Episode 47 | Nancy West

    What Works Episode 47 | Nancy West

    Dan and Ellen talk with Nancy West, executive editor of InDepthNH.org. 
    Nancy was an investigative reporter during her 30-year career at the New Hampshire Union Leader. Nancy founded the nonprofit New Hampshire Center for Public Interest Journalism in 2015. She has also taught investigative reporting at a summer program for students at the New England Center for Investigative Reporting.
    Ellen has a Quick Take on a recent article by Dan Froomkin in Washington Monthly. Froomkin, who is now editor of Press Watch, used to work for The Washington Post. He has been critical of owner Jeff Bezos. Froomkin is taking aim at the content management system developed by The Post under Bezos. The Post licenses this system to other news outlets around the country. That kind of market power worries Froomkin.
    Dan's Quick Take is on the state of journalism in Vermont, a subject we've talked about on a recent podcast. And about a good piece of media criticism. Bill Schubart, a journalist who writes a column for VTDigger, wrote a column critiquing a recent New Yorker piece by Bill McKibben on Vermont journalism. But Schubart also looked inward and wrote that Digger itself is having problems.

    • 41 min
    What Works Episode 46 | Jeff Jacoby

    What Works Episode 46 | Jeff Jacoby

    Dan and Ellen talk with Jeff Jacoby, longtime columnist for The Boston Globe Opinion Pages. Jeff also writes the weekly "Arguable" newsletter.
    Jeff holds degrees from George Washington University and from Boston University Law School, and before entering journalism, he briefly practiced law. He was also an assistant to Dr. John Silber, the prickly president of Boston University. 
    Prompted by a column Jeff wrote in June, and spurred on by the impending midterm elections, the podcast features a free-form discussion of whether newspaper editorial pages should endorse candidates in presidential races. 
    Dan has a Quick Take on a big story out of Woburn, a suburb north of Boston. Woburn has an independent newspaper and is covered by The Globe and other outlets. But this story wasn't broken by any of the usual suspects. Ellen's Quick Take is on an opinion column in The Washington Post by Perry Bacon, who calls for $10 billion in government funding to support a news outlet in every congressional district in the country.

    • 52 min
    What Works Episode 45 | David Cicilline

    What Works Episode 45 | David Cicilline

    Dan and Ellen talk with David Cicilline, who represents the First District of Rhode Island in Congress. Cicilline, who is a Democrat, is part of a bipartisan group of US representatives and senators sponsoring the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act. Co-sponsors include Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar from Minnesota; Republican Senator John Kennedy from Louisiana; Republican congressman Ken Buck from Colorado; and Senate and House Judiciary Committee Chairs Dick Durbin , an Illinois Democrat, and Jerrold Nadler, a New York Democrat. 
    The JCPA removes legal obstacles to news organizations’ ability to negotiate collectively and secure fair terms from gatekeeper platforms that use news content without paying for it. The legislation also allows news publishers to demand arbitration if they reach an impasse in those negotiations. 
    Ellen has a Quick Take on new research being done by the Institute for Nonprofit News. The INN just released 2022 fact sheets on three types of nonprofit newsrooms: local news, state and regional news, and national and global news. While each group shares some similarities, INN found that geography matters in terms of revenue models and audience development. 
    Dan takes a few more whacks at Gannett, because the stock is skidding, and newsrooms are being hit with unpaid furloughs, buyouts, and the threat of layoffs. 

    • 25 min
    What Works Episode 44 | David Dahl

    What Works Episode 44 | David Dahl

    Dan and Ellen talk with David Dahl, editor of The Maine Monitor.  David was most recently a deputy managing editor at The Boston Globe. Among his jobs at The Globe: directing hyperlocal Your Town coverage. The pull of Maine was strong, however. He and his wife, Kathy, have a home in Friendship, Maine. When he decided that he was ready to turn the page, he looked Down East.
    Dan has a Quick Take on Bulletin, a feature developed by Facebook to compete with Substack. Sarah Scire has the scoop: Bulletin is shutting down. Ellen has a Quick Take is on a new kind of media audit by the Alliance for Audited Media, which has been verifying newspaper circulation for 108 years. The organization says it's branching out, to audit standards of ethics in journalism. Ellen asks: Why?
    Dakotah Kennedy, a graduate student at Northeastern University, contributes on-the-ground interviews from attendees at the recent Radically Rural conference in New Hampshire. Our podcast with Terry Williams, creator of the conference, can be found here.

    • 50 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
6 Ratings

6 Ratings

irisg ,

Informative look at local journalism

An interesting lineup of guests from around the country. I really enjoy hearing about their experiences and different perspectives on covering local news. This is a good podcast on a vital topic. And the two hosts have a great rapport.

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