If you are hungry for news you can trust, journalism that helps you make decisions about your community, reporting that holds power to account, then this is for you. This is my personal advice for people who want to support journalism that matters. It is just a starting point, it is not comprehensive, and it’ll become stronger and more useful if you add your ideas to it. Use the comments to add your list of newsrooms you subscribe to and support.
Now more than ever, it is important to our democracy that we seek out and support good journalism. Every person is going to construct their media diet differently, so any list I create will be incomplete. My goal here is to provide a framework for you to find the news that will challenge, inspire, inform and engage you.
A few key pieces of advice:
- Support local news: Subscribe to your local newspapers, donate to a nonprofit newsrooms, become a member at your public broadcasting stations and support the local businesses that advertise on community news sites. Build a relationship with your local journalists, give them feedback, tell them what you’d like to see covered, share their stories.
- Support a mix of media: Construct a diverse media diet with a good mix of indie and alternative news, local, national and international coverage, niche and countervailing points of view. Get outside your bubble.
- Support journalism about the causes you care about: If you care about climate change, support environmental journalism. If you care about kids and schools, support a newsrooms focused on education. If you care about hunger and homelessness, support reporting about poverty, etc… (more on that below)
Finally, where ever you land on the web look for the about section, see if they post a code of ethics, figure out who the staff are. Here is a great guide to spotting fake and untrustworthy news.
The advice below focuses mostly on nonprofit newsrooms, but there are many commercial newsrooms who do important work and deserve your support as well. Give them your attention, subscribe, and engage with them too.
LOCAL NEWS: If you want to support local local news start here. I can’t list every local newsrooms deserving of your attention and your support, but there are a number of great directories where you can find links to trustworthy journalism in your area:
- Find nonprofit newsrooms near you via the Institute for Nonprofit News membership directory and map.
- Find your local public media, including NPR and PBS stations, and community broadcasters.
- Search for members of the Local Independent Online News Publishersnear you.
- Find journalists committed to solutions oriented reporting, with the Solutions Journalism Network’s Storytracker.
- Find community newspapers near you with the Association of Alternative Newsmedia’s member directory.
- Find local ethnic media outlets with New America Media’s directory
- Go to different neighborhoods to find hyperlocal papers that are cropping back up.
(There are other great newsrooms who aren’t in any of these directories. Can’t find a local newsroom near you? Tweet to me @jcstearns and I’ll help you track down a great local newsrooms near you.)
NICHE AND TOPIC FOCUSED REPORTING: If you care about a specific cause, there is likely a reporting project focused on that issue. Below are a few examples organized into imperfect categories, but check out the Institute for Nonprofit News and The Media Consortium for longer lists of newsrooms covering these topics. (Add more suggestions in the comments too!)
- National Investigative: ProPublica, Center for Investigative Reporting / Reveal, Center for Public Integrity, Mother Jones, The Nation Institute, Investigative Reporters and Editors, Ida B. Wells Society
- Education: ChalkBeat, Youth Today, Philly Public School Notebook, Chronicle of Higher Education, Southern Education Desk
- Criminal Justice: Marshall Project, The Crime Report, Juvenile Justice Information Exchange, Reason, The Trace
- Race and Social Justice: Colorlines, The Chicago Reporter, Code Switch, AllDigitocracy, EmergingUS, Latino Rebels, LatinoUSA, Vision Maker Media, National Native News, News Taco, Scalawag, Guernica, Dissent, Feministing, Bitch Media
- Health and Healthcare: Kaiser Health News, Stat News, The Pulse, Rewire, Clear Health Costs,
- Food and Environment: Orion Magazine, Inside Climate News, Grist, Food and Environmental Reporting Network, Inside Energy, Harvest Public Media
- International Reporting: GlobalVoices, PRI’s The World, GroundTruth Project, LinkTV, International Consortium of Investigative Journalists
PRESS FREEDOM: As the news landscape has shifted fewer and fewer newsroom and journalists have regular access to legal support and protection. This come at a time when we have unprecedented legal, technological and cultural threats to freedom of the press. Support these organizations who are on the front lines of defending the rights of journalists and all of us.
- Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press — Provide legal support for journalists in the US and advocate for press freedom issues.
- Freedom of the Press Foundation — Dedicated to helping support and defend public-interest journalism focused on exposing mismanagement, corruption, and law-breaking in government.
- Free Press — Free Press fights for your rights to connect and communicate.
- Student Press Law Center and Foundation for Individual Rights (FIRE) — Defend high school and college journalists
- National Press Photographers Association — Focused on supporting photographers’ rights and all people’s right to record.
- Pen American — A more literary emphasis on freedom of expression.
- First Amendment Coalition and National Freedom of Information Act Coalition — Dedicated to advancing free speech, more open and accountable government.
- Groups that report on press freedom include: Columbia Journalism Review, On The Media, Poynter, Nieman Journalism Lab
(Also notable are the Committee to Protect Journalists and Reporters Without Borders, though their work is focused more internationally. There are other important rights organizations and government transparency groups whose work intersects with press freedom as well.)
Building a New Infrastructure for News
As with the press freedom groups listed above, there is increasingly a need to support the organizations that support journalists. We have to help create a new infrastructure for independent media. These organizations help train journalists, offer fellowships, fund research and support small independent newsrooms in other ways.
A few of these groups include Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma, National Association of Black Journalists, National Association of Hispanic Journalists, Maynard Institute, Asian American Journalists Association, Native American Journalists Association, National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association, Journalism and Women Symposium, Women’s Media Center, Online News Association and others mentioned throughout this post and beyond.)
Today, creating the journalism we want, demands that we help support and defend the media we need.
These places need your support. Your donations will go a long way at all of these newsrooms and organizations. But you can support these places in other ways besides your money. Giving your time, your expertise, or your connections can all help small independent newsrooms. Share their work with a friend or family member via email, social media, or in person. Subscribe to their podcasts, email newsletters, social media accounts. Participate by attending local events, meetings that they are hosting, call-in to talk shows, share feedback when it’s asked for.
Be engaged with the journalism you care about, participate in the news that matters to you, and give what you can to support it.
Thanks for contributing ideas, suggestions and feedback Teresa Gorman, Jessica Clark, Mandy Van Deven, Jeanne Brooks, Adam Schweigert.
Reblogged this on The Homepage of Tony Burgess and commented:
Supporting and finding reliable and trustworthy journalism is possible. Here are some tips on how to go about it.
Reblogged this on DrWeb's Domain and commented:
Excellent post about truth, facts, and trustworthy journalism.. kudos!
I agree with your ideas Josh. Being a Journalism student, I have learned about how the industry has been changing with the popularity of the internet. In today’s world, journalism has become almost an independent industry, where practically anyone can create their own collection of media. I agree that we need to support more local news organizations so that way the industry doesn’t become a victim of bias and or false news reports. I think I would like to write a response to your opinions for my blog.
Reblogged this on staringintothenewage.
Reblogged this on marziabortolotto and commented:
Very helpful!!!! Thank you
This is a very good piece, and will pass this on to my niece who is studying journalism. Thanks 🙂
Reblogged this on mickandphil.
Very interesting post, you touch on some big issues here, not least how do we support the journalists of the future when newsroom resources are being cut back. I worked in the British regional press for 16 years and have seen the landscape change dramatically. Good list, made me think there is a need for a UK equivalent
Interesting read! It’s been on my mind, ever since Brian May (Queen) was on Question Time post election and said: How come that the party with the biggest campaign budget always wins the election? And a radio station which requires to present ‘news’ 24 hrs per day, will of course make editorial decisions on what it deems ‘interesting’ in a competitive market.
Local journalist here – thanks for the love! Community journalism is where it’s at, because that’s where most people can get the info they need to get involved at a level that’s appropriate for them and make a difference.
I hate the reputation my profession has today, but the more local you read, the more personal and human it gets. At least, my office takes pride in that.
Thank You for some new ideas!!!
Reblogged this on +Beam me Up Skotty.
Reblogged this on msamba and commented:
Written for a North American audience but still useful.
I will check these out. My blogging is a little controversial but it’s because of the MSM that divides us. I’m pro everyone with conservative values. I do not like hidden agendas and it’s taken me too much time to fact check myself. I like facts and not opinions. I will definitely be checking those links out.
I’d like to add a new one to the list coming early 2o17 – AXIOS. You should read their manifesto https://www.axios.com/manifesto.html
Thank you for this VERY important blog post. I need to be much better about seeking out diverse media platforms instead of focusing solely on the larger papers and stations.
Reblogged this on WordNerdProblems.
Thanks for posting all of the helpful links. This is definitely a hot button issue right now and I agree with a lot of what you said. I subscribe to a healthy dose of skepticism regardless of what piece of news I’m looking at, but some are obviously better than others. I think a view point adjustment can go a long way in helping people make rational decisions and the best thing we could have is a skeptical discerning public thinking independently about each issue. But good luck on that…
I am (as most of us are) drawn to those whose opinions are closest to mine, but I do try to push out of the bubble and inform myself by reading / listening to a mix of opinions.
I’d like to say that journalists aren’t what they used to be, but that’s not true. Whenever I hear someone defend the profession I think of Herblock and how he almost lost his job in 1942, but saved it by the skin of his teeth when he won his first (of many) Pulitzer Prize. Anyone who doesn’t push to be part of the safer, larger, noisier crowd, doesn’t let himself / herself be bullied into changing sides will have my respect.