When I started working at Democracy Fund I got a lot of questions about how we know that journalism, and especially local news, really matters for democracy. I was regularly asked for data and research that illustrates the connection and that proves that healthy media is critical to a healthy democracy. In 2018 I began pulling together a growing literature review of all the research that helps us understand the impact of journalism on democracy. I kept adding to it until 2022 when Christine Schmidt and Andrea Lorenz helped do a major overhaul of the whole piece. You can find the full list of studies with summaries here.
Author Archives: Josh Stearns
Local Foundations Need Solid Local Journalism if They Hope to Advance Their Missions
In this op-ed for the Chronicle of Philanthropy my colleague Teresa Gorman and I write about the creative and impactful ways the local foundations are leading the way in rebuilding local news. We share a series of stories about regions across the United States where local and national funders are partnering to grow more vibrant and equitable media ecosystems. Read it here.
Journalism Advice for a 9-Year-Old (And the Rest of Us)
Last week my youngest announced they want to be a journalist. My work is focused on rebuilding a vibrant and equitable journalism landscape in America so they hear a fair bit about media and news in our house. But this was the first time they had said they want to be a reporter.
The next day I sent a tweet asking what advice people in my network would give to a 9-year-old aspiring journalist.
More than 800 people responded, giving advice that ranged from sanguine to snarky. I also noticed a lot of people sharing the advice with others and I realized that much of what was being shared in response to my tweet was great advice for journalists of all ages, and even those outside journalism.
Below I’ve summarized 26 of the most common pieces of advice I got for my 9-year-old.
1. “Just be 9 and love learning.” First and foremost there were a lot of responses that encouraged my kiddo to embrace being 9, and lean into all the wonder, curiosity and joy of learning about the world at that age. A number of people responded that they could trace their careers in journalism back to a spark around this same age.
2. “Cultivate your curiosity.” Those qualities of curiosity, of exploration, of wonder and awe were mentioned over and over again and how important it is for journalists to hold on to those feelings and cultivate them in how they see and move through the world.
3. “Write every day.” People recommended journaling, letter writing, interviewing and transcribing, copying down and memorizing poems and emphasized over and over again the value of developing a writing habit throughout life.
4. “Read widely and endlessly.” Some people said to find authors and journalists you love and read them voraciously, others said push your boundaries and read many different genres, viewpoints, and mediums. Across the board people said the best writers are avid readers.
5. “Learn about online safety.” Respondents talked about online harassment and discrimination in the newsroom, especially targeted at women, people of color, and LGBTQIA journalists. They talked about starting now being careful about the digital footprint you leave, and prioritizing wellness and safety.
6. “Do something else.” Some responses were snarky, bemoaning the state of the industry. But others were more sincere in arguing that the best journalists are those who actually specialize in other topics and areas of focus. They suggested cultivating a passion and expertise in other areas and bringing that into journalism.
7. “Start now.” Lots of comments encouraged my kiddo to jump right in and start a family blog, a school newspaper, a neighborhood newsletter. They argued that there is no better way to see what it takes than to build something from scratch.
8. “Interview family and friends.” Great stories are all around you and people said a great place to start is with your own family. Practice interviewing techniques, taking notes, and finding stories by asking your family and friends for interviews.
9. “Shadow a reporter.” People shared stories of sitting in on an interview at an early age or shadowing a reporter for a career day. Finding these sorts of mentors and models early on is a great way to find your path.
10. “Learn different kinds of storytelling.” Try your hand at videos or podcasts, put together visual stories with photographs and slideshows, lean into creative formats and go beyond the written word. You can even try a story in text messages to a friend.
11. “Learn to ask good questions.” There was a lot of advice about asking good questions, hard questions, follow-up questions, questioning authority, questioning everything and on and on. Embracing curiosity is one thing, but learning how to turn curiosity into knowledge, and using it to reveal something new, is the art of asking good questions.
12. “Listening is your superpower.” The flip side of asking good questions is knowing how to listen. This includes understanding how to really listen to people deeply, how to listen to the buzz of a town, and how to listen for stories that are sometimes buried.
13. “Know your rights.” The First Amendment doesn’t disappear just because you are 9-years-old. People argued it was important to know the law, to use it to your advantage, and to not back down. People suggested practicing filing FOIA requests on things you are curious about.
14. “Invest in community.” A lot of people responded that a key part of journalism is building relationships in your community. This is important to cultivate sources, but also because you are there to serve that community and need to know them and be invested in their lives and stories. One person wrote, “co-create curiosity with your community.”
15. “Learn how to use silence strategically.” People are uncomfortable with silence and you’ll be tempted to fill it, one person tweeted. Don’t do it. People talked about how silence, especially during interviews, can be key to unlocking details you might never get otherwise.
16. “Unionize.” Somewhat jokingly a number of people encouraged my kid to unionize, but I took the comments as a real suggestion to talk to them about how workplaces work, and why collective power is important especially for an industry in transition. This is about workplace rights, but also about what it will take to organize for more equitable journalism moving forward.
17. “Study everything.” Over the course of 800+ tweets people suggested taking classes in statistics, history, anthropology, sociology, economics, math, computer science and much more.
18. “Get comfortable talking to strangers.” While you might be able to start by interviewing family, a lot of people said you also need to practice talking to strangers. Most responses said this was best done face to face or over the phone and that you’ll be amazed how willing people are to answer your questions.
19. “Engage with empathy.” When you are part of sharing someone’s story, you have to do so with care. When you are reaching out to strangers, it helps to connect and see where they are coming from. Empathy is a vital tool for journalists who care about telling powerful stories, building trust and serving their community.
20. “Ask the questions you and your friends want answered.” Trust your gut but also listen to the curiosity of others. Take seriously the responsibility of working with and for others and try to help turn questions into answers. Chances are if a few of you are wondering about something, a whole lot of others are interested too.
21. “Look to pop-culture.” People highlighted a ton of books, TV shows, podcasts and other stories about kids journalists and investigators who can serve as inspiration. A few of the most recommended include: Enola Holmes (Netflix), Home Before Dark (Apple TV+), Harriet the Spy (books), Eleanor Amplified (podcast) and generally seeking out books for kids and teens about Ida B. Wells and other journalists of color.
22. “Check your facts.” There were a lot of jokes about moms and dads saying “I love you” and the need to check it out. But in this moment of misinformation folks reinforced the need for fact checking, and the skills of debunking and media and digital literacy. On a related note, one person tweeted, “Grownups lie more than kids do.”
23. “Always carry a pencil.” Batteries will die, pen ink can freeze, but a trusty pencil will always be there for you.
24. “Wear good shoes.” While “shoe leather reporting” may not be as in fashion as a newsroom phrase these days, there were a lot of reminders to get away from the computer screen and get out in community. There is no replacement for hitting the streets, and being ready to walk the town to chase down a story.
25. “Get used to being edited.” A lot of early writers hate getting edited. Get used to it early. Invite others to read your writing, ask friends, parents and teachers for feedback. Don’t let the comments hurt, and consider the edits openly.
26. “Look for what’s missing.” Great stories are often found, not in what is around you but rather in what is missing. Look for the conversations that aren’t happening, the people not represented in the room, the viewpoints who are being left out. Then start asking why and who benefits.
Introducing Ping and Echo
Ping and Echo is a daily newsletter that I started with my kids during the pandemic. Every day, for 100 days, it delivered podcasts kids and grown-ups can listen to together, and provided everything you need to turn an episode into an adventure. The post below was published when I launched the project in March of 2020.
In 2016 I was commuting back and forth between Massachusetts and New Jersey and I was listening to a lot of podcasts. Over and over again I heard terrific stories that I wanted to share with my kids, stories that launched me on explorations of new topics and stories that made me want to build, experiment, and create. Back then I began imagining a short newsletter that would share one great podcast episode for parents and kids to listen to, paired with links to activities and articles for families to explore together. Ever since then I’ve been collecting episodes for a newsletter that didn’t exist.
This month, as schools and businesses started closing and we all began to adapt to self-quarantines and social distancing I realized the time was right to launch this project.
Today I’m launching Ping and Echo. Subscribe here.
Ping and Echo is a daily newsletter that links to one amazing podcast episode that is guaranteed to be a great listen for kids and their families. These are not kids’ podcasts per se, but rather, they are episodes of great podcasts like 99% Invisible, Mystery Show, the Memory Palace, Gravy, Radiolab, Snap Judgement, Song Exploder, and others that also happen to be perfect for sharing with curious kids. Each edition of the newsletter also includes links to fun activities, background reading, and videos related to the topic of the podcast.
Ping and Echo delivers podcasts that kids and grown-ups will love to listen to together, and gives you everything you need to turn an episode into an adventure. Subscribe here.
The name Ping and Echo comes from sonar technology which relies on sending out “pings” and receiving back “echos” to discover the world around you. Similarly, I envision this project as a two way dialogue that together can help all of us make sense of the world we live in. Every day I’ll send out a “ping” via this newsletter and I hope to receive “echos” back from subscribers. Parents can send in pictures of creations inspired by the podcasts I share, send art created by kids, or send in other podcasts they love. I’ll be posting all these pings and echos on the project’s Twitter page.
Like many of you, I’m working from home and my kids are home with me until schools reopen. While I’m writing the newsletter, my kids are serving as editors and producers, helping me research topics, source links and choose podcasts to share. We listen together and talk about the themes in each episode. If anything in an episode worries them, we note it in the newsletter too so parents will have a heads up about sensitive content, language, and topics.
I have a list of about 30 episodes that are in the queue for inclusion in Ping and Echo, but I’m actively looking for more. If you are a podcast producer or host who is making great episodes I should consider — or if you are just an avid podcast listener who hears something great — please send a link to us. You can find our email on the About page here.
Every podcast episode I link to will feature compelling stories, great lessons, and important themes. That will be paired with hands-on activities for kids of various ages that revolve around the themes in the podcast. But I promise to keep the newsletter short.
If you love podcasts and want to turn a bit of audio into a big adventure, Ping and Echo is for you.
Ping and Echo is written by me, Josh Stearns, with editorial support from my kids Toby and Ruby. I always thought I’d grow up to be a teacher until my life went in another direction. I worked for years as a camp counselor and camp director, and have written about parenting for more than a decade, including for BuzzFeed. In 2013 my wife and I wrote a parenting themed cover version of Lorde’s “We Will Never Be Royals” called “We Will Never Be Rested.”
29 Times Nonprofit Journalism Made a Difference In 2018
When it comes to the biggest stories of 2018, from immigration to education, gun violence to campaign finance, nonprofit journalists around the country have been a driving force for good, revealing corruption and lifting up the stories of their communities.
Below are 29 remarkable examples from the Institute for Nonprofit News list of best stories from 2018 that show the power and importance of nonprofit reporting.Read more: 29 Times Nonprofit Journalism Made a Difference In 2018
Shining a Spotlight on Family Separation
1) After ProPublica obtained a recording of children inside a U.S. Customs and Border Protection facility who were recently separated from their families, they used the audio and related reporting to document the reality of the Trump administration’s family separation policy. Within 48 hours President Trump reversed his policy and soon after a federal judge ordered that parents and children be reunited. A month later the 6-year-old girl in that recording was reunited with her mother.
2) KPBS’s ongoing coverage of family separation showed that the practice was not limited to illegal border crossings, but was also occurring at legal ports of entry, contradicting the claims of senior White House officials.
3) In “Kids on the Line,” Reveal from the Center for Investigative Reporting exposed a shelter in Texas drugging migrant children against their will. After the reporting a federal judge demanded the activity be stopped and that the children be removed quickly.
Revealing Corporate Corruption and Wrongdoing
4) The Lens uncovered a scheme to place paid actors at New Orleans City Council meetings to give the impression of community support for a power plant. The reporting triggered an investigation of the city’s power utility, Entergy New Orleans, which faced a $5 million fine.
5) The New Food Economy revealed that Amazon was a top employer of food stamp recipients across the nation, prompting a new bill from Sen. Bernie Sanders which drove Amazon to raise its minimum wage to $15 an hour for hundreds of thousands of employees.
6) After the U.S. Energy Department proposed a new rule to subsidize struggling coal and nuclear power plants, In These Times published exclusive photos showing an undisclosed meeting between Energy Secretary Rick Perry and coal CEO Robert Murray, at which Murray handed Perry a similar proposal. The article led the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to delay its rulemaking and to ultimately reject the proposal in January 2018, and resulted in a federal lawsuit.
Driving Accountability in Local Coverage of #MeToo
7) Voice of San Diego spent months reporting on sexual misconduct by teachers and other public school employees and, in several cases, has gone to court to secure records documenting those abuses. Reporting revealed that abusers often were allowed to quietly resign or transfer — sometimes with cash payouts and glowing recommendations.
8) After the Tucson Sentinel’s extensive reporting on an Arizona congressional candidate’s failed attempt to cover up a sexual assault allegation, numerous Democratic organizations disavowed him.
9) Months of reporting by MinnPost culminated in a detailed expose of sexual harassment and misconduct by a top aide to Rep. Rick Nolan, one of Minnesota’s most prominent Democratic politicians. The investigation revealed not only the harassment of three young women, but the systemic mishandling of their allegations by the congressman and his senior staff. The story resulted in widespread criticism of Nolan and prompted increased scrutiny during his failed run for lieutenant governor.
10) The Frontier spent months tracking down what had happened to police reports and 911 calls from a domestic violence call to the home of a powerful figure in Oklahoma politics, Preston Doerflinger. Doerflinger resigned from all of his state positions less than 18 hours after the story was published, despite being considered untouchable by many in the state.
Reporting on Elections and Campaign Finance
11) The Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism, as part of its “Undemocratic” series, exposed the tricks used by the Legislature to sneak in unpopular legislation and keep the public in the dark. The story put into context legislative maneuvers — such as last-minute and anonymous budget amendments.
12) Bridge Magazine’s monthslong probe documented how a nonprofit front group backed by business interests worked with politicians to gerrymander Michigan and solidify political majorities for a full decade. In November, Michigan voters overwhelmingly passed a ballot proposal to take redistricting out of politicians’ hands.
13) Injustice Watch’s reporting on judges in Cook County, Illinois, led to a judge losing his reelection race for the first time since 1990.
14) Eye On Ohio, published by the Ohio Center for Investigative Journalism, analyzed 10 years’ worth of election contributions and found that the past two attorneys general — both running for governor — were much more likely to give no-bid debt collection contracts to campaign donors. This prompted a lawsuit against the attorney general.
Covering Criminal Justice Across the Country
15) The Marshall Project teamed up with the USA Today Network in Tennessee to expose how a 150-year-old law allows county jails to put people in solitary confinement before they are even convicted of a crime. After the reporting, Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam signed a law prohibiting jail officials from holding teenagers in state solitary confinement while awaiting trial.
16) City Bureau reporters followed the opening of the nation’s first restorative justice court, on Chicago’s West Side, bringing an unprecedented amount of transparency and community input to an experimental and opaque court system.
17) The Better Government Association and WBEZ exposed a big loopholethat allowed many officers involved in shootings in Chicago suburbs to escape discipline. The report resulted in a law requiring all police shootings in the state to prompt an internal review for policy violations or procedural mistakes.
18) The Investigative Reporting Workshop found deep cracks in the registry system for sex offenders that allow predators to move, skip registration, and begin new lives under the radar in a new neighborhood — unless they are arrested again.
Keeping An Eye on Education
19) Oklahoma Watch revealed that dozens of private schools fail to include disabled students in their policies against discrimination in admissions in violation of state law. The story led the state’s largest tax-credit scholarship fund to order at least 60 schools to comply or be removed from the program.
20) PublicSource spent months in schools around Pennsylvania to document disparities between school districts that border one another. Following the reporting, the state education secretary visited to talk with local administration officials about potential solutions to disparities.
21) IowaWatch showed that nine of every 10 public school districts in Iowa have buildings within 2,000 feet of farm fields where pesticides get sprayed, a potential risk some school leaders were unaware of.
22) Philadelphia Public School Notebook revealed in January that school district contractors had botched lead paint remediation efforts. Lead exposure is a major issue in many old school buildings. The reporting prompted the city council to call a hearing and the district obtained state funding to assist with repairs.
Standing up For Kids and Families
23) A four-month investigation by Searchlight New Mexico uncovered a pattern of abuses within New Mexico’s foster care system, specifically a branch focused on serving the most traumatized children in state custody. The reporting found at least 28 specific violations of oversight rules and led to a state investigation.
24) In 2015, North Carolina’s legislature passed a law mandating that insurers cover expensive treatments for children with autism, but more than two years later, that promise had yet to be fulfilled for many families. After NC Health News reported and ran this pair of stories, state health officials pressed local mental health management to start serving these children.
25) After dogged reporting by WHYY’s PlanPhilly showed that a plan to stop providing aid to Puerto Rican evacuees living in Philadelphia would effectively leave them homeless, FEMA extended housing assistance.
26) Scattered reports of children dying in Russia from AIDS led Coda Story to investigate how malfeasance in public healthcare, the Kremlin’s encouragement of conspiracy thinking, and a grassroots campaign of denial of accepted HIV treatment combined into a deadly public health crisis.
Tracking Pollution and Public Health
27) The Food & Environment Reporting Network, in collaboration with Reveal, documented how the EPA for years ignored scientific evidence that the herbicide dicamba was prone to drift onto nearby fields and kill non-GMO crops that weren’t designed to resist it. Journalists had to sue to get access to public records that showed scientists had repeatedly warned the EPA and illustrated the influence of industry groups.
28) South Dakota News Watch showed how major rivers across the state have become dumping grounds for billions of gallons of human, agricultural and industrial waste each year under a state-sanctioned permit program. The “Rivers at Risk” series put water quality and inspection deficiencies onto the agenda for gubernatorial debates.
29) Digging behind the headlines of a corruption trial, BirminghamWatch found the vast majority of the local region’s major sources of pollution are located in low-income areas whose residents are largely African-American. The reporting continues to inform the ongoing dispute over whether former Alabama environment agency officials broke the law in resisting remedies.
How You Can Help
Nonprofit journalists are able to take on these stories, to spend the time to get it right, because they are supported by their community. That means they answer to the public, but that the public has a role to play. Find and donate to nonprofit news at https://findyournews.org.
This post originally apeared at BuzzFeed.
Ten Poems Emailed To Me By Strangers And Friends
Last week I was Many used the occasion of the chain letter to find a poem, or quote, that spoke to the moment we are in — reflections on hope, challenge, and struggle. Others shared writing that reflected on creativity, community and the act of writing itself.
I should note, that I have never participated in a chain letter before, but for some reason I did this time. I’ve so enjoyed the sporadic versus delivered to my inbox that I decided I wanted to share the collection. Here is all the poems people sent in, with an occasional note of context from me.
One of the first notes I received included this passage by Victoria Safford, and I marveled at how words can come around full circle. Earlier this year, speaking to a groups of journalists, I read this passage aloud and so I was delighted to see it come back to me from someone else entirely.
1) The Gates of Hope, Victoria Safford
Our mission is to plant ourselves at the gates of hope — not the prudent gates of Optimism, which are somewhat narrower; nor the stalwart, boring gates of Common Sense; nor the strident gates of self-righteousness, which creak on shrill and angry hinges; nor the cheerful, flimsy garden gate of “Everything is gonna be all right,” but a very different, sometimes very lonely place, the place of truth-telling, about your own soul first of all and its condition, the place of resistance and defiance, the piece of ground from which you see the world both as it is and as it could be, as it might be, as it will be; the place from which you glimpse not only struggle, but joy in the struggle — and we stand there, beckoning and calling, telling people what we are seeing, asking people what they see.
Another passage that draws connections between words and listening, hope and community, was sent to me by a different person.
2) From Ursula LeGuin’s “Words are My Matter”
“Nobody can do anything very much, really, alone. What a child needs, what we all need, is to find some other people who have imagined life along lines that make sense to us and allow some freedom, and listen to them. Not hear passively, but listen. Listening is an act of community, which takes space, time, and silence. Reading is a means of listening.”
“Reading is not as passive as hearing or viewing. It’s an act: you do it. You read at your pace, your own speed, not the ceaseless, incoherent, gabbling, shouting rush of the media. You take in what you can and want to take in, not what they shove at you fast and hard and loud in order to overwhelm and control you. Reading a story, you may be told something, but you’re not being sold anything. And though you’re usually alone when you read, you are in communion with another mind. You aren’t being brainwashed or co-opted or used; you’ve joined in an act of the imagination. I know no reason why our media could not create a similar community of the imagination, as theater has often done in societies of the past, but they’re mostly not doing it.”
This time of year I often return to Mary Oliver, who was a good friend of Orion Magazine where I serve on the board of directors. I often read a poem of hers for Thanksgiving, and this will be the first Thanksgiving since her death. This poem feels fitting for all those reasons and I was grateful it came when it did.
3) “November” by Mary Oliver, from Why I Wake Early
a soft and easy
of flakes, then clouds of flakes
in the baskets of the wind
and the branches
of the trees —
oh, so pretty.
through the growing stillness,
as the flakes
prickled the path,
then covered it,
as in curds and drafts,
as the wind grew stronger,
shaping its work
taking greater steps
over the hills
and through the trees
we were cold,
and far from home.
and followed our long shadows back
to the house,
stamped our feet,
went inside, and shut the door.
Through the window
we could see
how far away it was to the gates of April.
Let the fire now
put on its red hat
and sing to us.
I have known and appreciated Naomi Shihab Nye’s writing for a long time but somehow this poem had escaped me until now. But I was struck how it spoke to me and seemed in ways to be in conversation with the other poems I received.
4) Kindness by Naomi Shihab Nye
Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.
How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
the passengers eating maize and chicken
will stare out the window forever.
Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness
you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho
lies dead by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you,
how he too was someone
who journeyed through the night with plans
and the simple breath that kept him alive.
Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.
Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out into the day to gaze at bread,
only kindness that raises its head
from the crowd of the world to say
It is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you everywhere
like a shadow or a friend.
Ross Gay is another poet who has worked with and been published by Orion Magazine and I have returned to this poem often. Having it sent to me by someone else helped me see a new connection with the person who sent it, and I look forward to talking about it with her when I see her next.
5) A Small Needful Fact by Ross Gay
Is that Eric Garner worked
for some time for the Parks and Rec.
Horticultural Department, which means,
perhaps, that with his very large hands,
perhaps, in all likelihood,
he put gently into the earth
some plants which, most likely,
some of them, in all likelihood,
continue to grow, continue
to do what such plants do, like house
and feed small and necessary creatures,
like being pleasant to touch and smell,
like converting sunlight
into food, like making it easier
for us to breathe.
We read a Wendell Berry poem at our wedding. It was this specific poem but this one is one of my all time favorites. Berry is another author affiliated with Orion Magazine, and was originally introduced to me by a long time mentor and friend from my first job out of college.
6) The Peace of Wild Things by Wendell Berry
When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.
This was one of the last poems that was sent to me and in many ways I saw each of these poems like the “unexpected visitor” which Rumi writes about below.
7) The Guest House by Rumi
This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.
8) The Dash by Linda Ellis
I read of a man who stood to speak at the funeral of a friend. He referred to the dates on the tombstone from the beginning… to the end.
He noted that first came the date of birth and spoke of the following date with tears, but he said what mattered most of all was the dash between those years.
For that dash represents all the time they spent alive on earth and now only those who loved them know what that little line is worth.
For it matters not, how much we own, the cars… the house… the cash. What matters is how we live and love and how we spend our dash.
So think about this long and hard; are there things you’d like to change? For you never know how much time is left that still can be rearranged.
To be less quick to anger and show appreciation more and love the people in our lives like we’ve never loved before.
If we treat each other with respect and more often wear a smile… remembering that this special dash might only last a little while.
So when your eulogy is being read, with your life’s actions to rehash, would you be proud of the things they say about how you lived your dash?
This was one I wanted to hear out loud. Someone in my coworking space gave me a weird look when I read it at my desk.
9) Wise 1 From Transbluesency
If you ever find
Yourself, some where
Lost and surrounded
Who won’t let you
Speak in your own language
Who destroy your statues
& instruments, who ban
Your omm bomm ba boom
Then you are in trouble
They ban your
Own boom ba boom
You in deep deep
Probably take you several hundred years
This was the shortest thing I received. It comes from “Beautiful Losers,” Leonard Cohen’s second book.
10 ) Leonard Cohen
“I am an old scholar. Better looking now than when I was young. That’s what sitting on your ass does to your face.”
Finally, this was the poem I sent. It is one that I revisit often and that touches many parts of my life.
11) Ode to the Present by Pablo Neruda
as a wooden slab,
as a new cup
from the past —
no spider web
with our fingers,
we cut it
according to our magnitude;
the unfolding of its blossoms.
It is living,
from the unrepairable past,
from the lost past,
it is our
this very moment, adorned with
sand, eating from
Don’t let it slip away.
Don’t lose it in dreams
and order it
to obey you.
Make it a road,
a kiss, a book,
Take a saw to its delicious
And make a chair;
Or then, build
press your feet
onto the resinous wood
of this moment,
not very high,
the leaky roof.
Don’t go all the way to heaven.
not the clouds.
fluff through the sky,
into the past.
your own apple.
Pick it from
in your hand.
rich with stars.
Take a luxurious bite
out of the present,
and whistle along the road
of your destiny.
20 Of The Best Nonprofit News Stories Of 2017
This was an amazing year for investigative journalism — especially around the country at the local level where nonprofit newsrooms are holding leaders accountable and covering the issues communities care about. Here are 20 important stories that had an impact around the United States in 2017.
Standing Up For Quality News
This year has reminded us why quality journalism matters like never before. From ProPublica’s investigation into why the U.S. has the worst rate of maternal deaths in the developed world to Centro de Periodismo Investigativo’s journalists who faced incredible challenges and personal disasters while tirelessly covering their communities across Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria. From MinnPost’s coverage of sexual harassment in the Minnesota Capitol, which led to the resignation of two legislators, to InvestigateWest’s reporting on the disarray at Washington State’s foster care program that prompt six new laws and $48 million in funding to keep kids safe.
As nonprofits, these newsrooms depend on donations to bring these stories to light. This kind of public powered reporting helps newsrooms take on the biggest stories facing our community and our nation, without fear or favor. That is why News Match is doubling donations to these newsrooms until the end of 2017. National and local funders have contributed more than $3 million to match your donations but time is running out!
The Institute for Nonprofit News has collected more than 60 of the most important local and investigative stories from nonprofit journalists this year. Below are 20 great examples from that list. Donate today to double your contribution — otherwise stories like these might not get told.Continue reading “20 Of The Best Nonprofit News Stories Of 2017”
The Future Of America’s Free Press Is In Our Hands
The True Cost of Holding Leaders Accountable
A year ago, Mother Jones published a groundbreaking piece providing a rare and harrowing inside look at the private prison industry. Their reporter, Shane Bauer, had spent four months undercover working at a private prison at great risk and expense. The story prompted the Obama Department of Justice to cut ties with a number of private prison companies (a move later rescinded by President Trump’s DOJ). After the fact, Mother Jones’s CEO, Monika Bauerlein, and editor in chief, Clara Jeffery, wrote that the story cost at least $350,000, and the ads on Mother Jone’s website brought in roughly $5,000. Since Bauer’s story ran in Mother Jones, the magazine has seen a boost in monthly sustaining donors.
If we care about this kind of journalism, it’s up to us to ensure its survival. Giving Tuesday encourages people to support the causes that matter to them, and #GivingNewsDay is a reminder that quality journalism shines a spotlight on those issues every day.
News Match was created to help nonprofit newsrooms reach new readers and foster a community of donors. Democracy Fund, the MacArthur Foundation and Knight Foundation created a $3 million dollar fund to match donations to more than 100 nonprofit newsrooms before the end of 2017. Since then new funders have stepped up to join the News Match effort. At NewsMatch.org you can search by location or topic to find trustworthy reporting and with one donation give to as many newsrooms as you want.
You could support The War Horse, whose reporting on sexual harassment in the Marines led to congressional and federal investigations that eventually changed military law. You could support WyoFile which documented how a coal magnate and the son of a Wyoming senator misappropriated stimulus funds. Or you could support Bridge Magazine who showed how segregation has become a side effect of the school choice policies that Betsy DeVos championed in Michigan.
What matters is that you find the journalism that matters to you and support it. Without you, these stories and hundreds of others like them would go untold.
Your donations will help fuel quality reporting and ensure journalists can shine a light on the issues that matter most to our communities and our democracy. For hard-hitting journalism to survive we need a new social contract between newsrooms and communities. Both journalists and the public will need to step up and do things differently, and nonprofits are on the front lines of rebuilding the free press in America and restoring trust in the news media
Now they need your help.
Why Quality Journalism Matters When We Talk About Honoring Veterans
Ahead of Veterans Day, News Match 2017 — the largest-ever grassroots campaign to strengthen non-profit journalism across the United States — is shining a spotlight on journalists and newsrooms whose work has lifted up critical issues impacting veterans and their families. News Match is doubling donations to these organizations, and more than 100 others, between now and the end of the year. You can support quality reporting on veterans issues by visiting www.newsmatch.org.
“Every Veterans Day, Americans come together to recognize the sacrifice and valor of our veterans throughout the country,” said Sue Cross, executive director and CEO of the Institute for Nonprofit News. “Non-profit news organizations do this daily through their groundbreaking reporting—ensuring our nation lives up to our commitment to those who have served.”
From Colorado to Connecticut the stories below remind us of the incredible sacrifices veterans have made, and the powerful role journalists play in telling their stories.Continue reading “Why Quality Journalism Matters When We Talk About Honoring Veterans”
News Match Launches With $3 Million in Matching Funds for Nonprofit Newsrooms Across the Country
This month three foundations announced they are putting up $3 million in matching dollars and inviting the nation to stand up and support local news and investigative reporting. The News Match fund is a collaboration between Democracy Fund, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.
News Match is the largest grassroots fundraising campaign ever to support nonprofit and investigative news organizations. Across the country, 110 newsrooms are participating. Together we want 2017 to be a record-setting year for donations to news to ensure that innovative, nonprofit newsrooms have the resources they need to deliver high-quality reporting to the communities they serve. Donors can contribute up to $1,000 between now and December 31, and every donation will be matched, up to a total of $27,000 per organization.Continue reading “News Match Launches With $3 Million in Matching Funds for Nonprofit Newsrooms Across the Country”
How to Find and Support Trustworthy Journalism
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.
Continue reading “How to Find and Support Trustworthy Journalism”
My Next Adventure: Journalism’s Wicked Problems and Democracy’s Complex Systems
After two amazing years working with local journalists across New Jersey and New York City on creative experiments in revenue models and community engagement this is my last week at the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation.
For the past two years I’ve had the good fortune to work with Molly de Aguiar and Chris Daggett at the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation where they have been pioneering an “ecosystem model” for supporting and strengthening local news. Through the Local News Lab project, which was funded by the Knight Foundation, we have built a more connected, inclusive and responsive news ecosystem in New Jersey. We’ve experimented with new revenue ideas, community engagement efforts, philanthropy models and groundbreaking collaborations. We didn’t just fund good ideas, we looked for people and projects that could help make structural change in local news.
We have learned a lot (check out our lessons learned here). All of that work is going to continue – stay tuned for big things to come from Molly and the Local News Lab.
In 2011 I wrote a blog post calling for a “systems approach to remaking journalism.” In New Jersey the Dodge Foundation is showing that this approach has promise. Their ecosystem approach is rooted in the idea that the challenges facing journalism are not individual problems but rather complex systems of economics, technology, policy, culture and more. Jay Rosen has called these “wicked problems,” and they are just the sort of problems I love to work on.
One of our partners in the work of the Local News Lab has been the Democracy Fund, a bipartisan foundation established by eBay founder and philanthropist Pierre Omidyar to help ensure that the American people come first in our democracy. Democracy Fund focuses on engaged citizens and vibrant media, supporting innovations and institutions that help people understand and participate in the democratic process.
Starting in June I’ll be joining the Democracy Fund as Associate Director for the Informed Participation program, helping lead their local journalism work and investments around the country.
I’ll be building on our lessons from the work in New Jersey and exploring new ways we can intervene in the complex systems that shape journalism and the public square today. This is a natural evolution of the work I’ve been doing because systems thinking is at the core of how the Democracy Fund approaches its work. To get a sense for what that means, check out this local news and civic participation map that Democracy Fund recently published. It will serve as a starting point for the work ahead. And because the Democracy Fund is supporting the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation’s innovative work, I get to continue to work with them as an ally and partner.
At Democracy Fund we’ll be doing this work in partnership with local communities who want to think big about new ways to support vigorous local news and a robust public square. I’m thrilled to be joining the Democracy Fund at this critical moment for our politics and our press.
Lessons from The New York Times Super Tuesday hoax: Five ways to spot fake news
Fake articles mostly go under the radar, but have the potential to cause lasting damage. Here are some red flags to help spot them
(This article was originally published by the First Draft News Coalition. Check out their site for guides, tips and tools for debunking misinformation online.)
On the eve of Super Tuesday, a New York Times article made the rounds on social media reporting that Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren had endorsed Sen. Bernie Sanders for president. The only problem: It was fake.
The New York Times released a statement and others debunked the fake on Tuesday, as people were headed to the polls, but by that point the fake article “had been viewed more than 50,000 times, with 15,000 shares on Facebook,” the Times reported.
This is just the most recent in a long line of fake news reports which have swept through social media in recent years. Last year Twitter’s share price spiked after a fake Bloomberg article claimed that Google was considering buying the social media platform. In 2012, Wikileaks created a fake New York Times op-ed from then-Times-editor Bill Keller defending Wikileaks in what appeared to be a change of position from his earlier statements about the group. The fake was so convincing that even New York Times journalists were sharing it on Twitter.
This kind of hoax isn’t limited to the web. Just a few weeks ago a pro-Palestinian grouphanded out fake versions of the New York Times to highlight what it believes is the Time’s bias against Palestinians. In 2008 the Yes Men distributed thousands of copies of a 14-page fake New York Times all over New York City. The paper declared the end of the Iraq war on the front page.
Online it is increasingly simple for activists and pranksters to spoof the look and feel of a major news website and these fakes can have real impacts from Wall Street to the voting booth. However, in each of these past cases there has been some clear giveaways that are instructive for anyone who wants to spot fakes in the future.Continue reading “Lessons from The New York Times Super Tuesday hoax: Five ways to spot fake news”
From Chat Apps to Town Halls: Why More Newsrooms are Designing Journalism for Conversation
“A good newspaper, I suppose, is a nation talking to itself.” — Arthur Miller
At a panel on “The Hunt for News Products of the Future” hosted by CUNY and the New School last week, Aron Pilhofer, the Interim Chief Digital Officer of The Guardian, said he is fascinated with the intersection of messaging, bots and artificial intelligence in apps like Facebook’s project M, and how that might change how we enter into a conversation with the news. The comment came on the heels of Pilhofer discussing the new mobile app from Quartz, which uses a messaging interface to deliver news via interactions with the user. He said using the Quartz app was “the first time I opened up a news app and felt like it had a soul.”
I felt that too — perhaps not a soul, but a sense of connection.
Continue reading “From Chat Apps to Town Halls: Why More Newsrooms are Designing Journalism for Conversation”
The Best Online Journalism and Storytelling of 2015
40 Amazing Reporting Projects You Might Have Missed
by Josh Stearns and Luis Gomez
Every year storytelling and journalism on the web gets better. For the past three years I have rounded up the most compelling examples of reporting online (here is 2014, 2013, and 2012). This year I had the good fortune to collaborate with Luis Gomez on this project.
This is a labor of love. Our hope is that by shining a spotlight on this important work, we can help you discover things you might have missed and that you’ll share them and support the journalists who made them possible.
There is no formal criteria for what makes the list. We tried to focus on stories that leverage the unique potential of the web, stories that come to life on the web in ways they never could have otherwise. But we also look for stories that — while not technically groundbreaking — still hit us in the gut and stick with us.
Sometimes it is about using the right tools for the story, not every tool in the toolbox.
We know we’ve likely missed amazing pieces that deserve to be recognized — which is why we ask you to add yours to the comments here. And if you like these stories, sign up for the weekly Local Fix newsletter for more case studies on innovation and community engagement in journalism.
#BlackLivesMatter has helped fuel renewed attention to issues of race and justice in media. The following projects reflect that but it is worth also recognizing the way #BlackLivesMatter has used creative storytelling and social media to report on these issues when others wouldn’t. That is also online journalism and should be included here.
“Failure Factories” — Tampa Bay Times
Failure Factories tells the story of the end of integration at the Pinellas County School District in Florida. To tell this investigative multi-story series, the Tampa Bay Times visualizes data to illustrate the impact of desegregation in some of the poorest neighborhoods in the district. The opening prologue is simple, but powerful and effective.
The 45 Minute Mystery of Freddie Gray’s Death — Baltimore Sun
One of the biggest stories that set the tone for race and justice conversations in the media was the death of Freddie Gray while in the custody of Baltimore’s police. The challenge of telling the story, which started out as a local story and later evolved into a national story, is sorting out much of what happened in the minutes and hours before and after Gray’s death. The Baltimore Sun zeroes in on those moments with compelling video and details often not visible from a bird’s eye view.
#InTheirWords — USA Today
In writing about USA Today’s #InTheirWords project the American Journalism Review wrote that “one way to tell the stories about race [is] to remove the journalists.” Of course USA Today did not remove journalism from this piece but they did change the relationship between journalist, reader and subject. The audience can create a self-driven documentary drawing on a set of interviews with young leaders in the civil rights organizing. The project is similar to the Washington Post’s 2014 N-Word project.
SCIENCE AND ENVIRONMENT
The Martian Diaries — Science News
If the Mars Rover kept a diary, what would it look like? That is the question designers and journalists at Science News set out to answer in this great piece which draws on two and half years of photos and data from the exploration of Mars.
After the Storm — Washington Post, Independent Lens and other partners
Blurring the line between journalism and documentary film, this partnership between the Washington Post and PBS’s Independent Lens is described in the opening seconds as a “letter to future disaster survivors.” With narration, looping music and an aesthetic like a scrapbook with maps, photos and snippets of text the piece is like sitting down across from someone and listening to them tell you their story.
Primer Stories — Joe Alterio and Tim Lillis
Primer Stories is a collection of unique stories, many though not all focus on science. Alterio and Lillis invite authors to contribute short pieces and then use GIFs, illustrations, videos, and photos to bring them to life. The results feel like a kind of bespoke journalism, each one creatively and lovingly designed in ways that add richness and meaning. See for example Dragons of the Alps, You Are Here, On Ice and How to Build a Brain. (Hat tip @MollydeAguiar for this one)
Every Active Satellite Orbiting Earth — Quartz
When the Union of Concerned Scientists released a database of the 1,300 satellites currently in orbit over earth, Quartz took the data and created a visualization. Organized by size of the satellite and the country it belongs to, this interactive graphic give us a glimpse of each satellite’s launch date, users, and owners.
Greenland is Melting Away — New York Times
The New York Times used a drone to bring readers high above the melting glaciers of Greenland in this beautiful piece that was published the month before the UN climate talks in Paris. The drone footage is accompanied by scroll-to-zoom aerial imagery and data that maps of all the glacial rivers including flow rates. (See also After Years of Drought, Wildfires Rage in California from New York Times)
Japan’s New Satellite Captures an Image of Earth Every 10 Minutes — The New York Times
The graphic presents a view of the globe, in the Times words, “as a massive organic system, pulsing with continuous movement.” It is hypnotic.
It is impossible to talk about online storytelling in 2015 without talking about the rise of virtual reality. While not a technology that was invented or pioneered in 2015, last year did mark a tipping point in the adoption of virtual reality inside newsrooms. This was perhaps most evident in the Google Cardboard/New York Times partnership in which every New York Times subscriber recieved a virtual reality viewer with their Sunday paper.
Those who are experimenting with journalism and virtual reality have set up good pages that collect all their reporting in one place. Check out the stories and apps from journalists at ABC, Vice and the New York Times, media organizations like Discovery and KCRW, and local news companies like Gannett and Digital First. On the university side, see projects by Robert Hernandez, Nonny de la Peña, the University of Arizona, and Dan Pacheco. (See more stories at the VRSE website)
IMMIGRATION AND REFUGEES
Ghost Boat — Medium
Ghost Boat, published on Medium, is nicely designed but it is worth including here not only because of how it looks but also because of how it was written. Medium set out to crowdsource the investigation into a missing ship carrying 243 migrants. The effort included many individual contributors as well as group hackathons, where teams tried to surface new evidence.
Exodus — Washington Post
Giant photos and maps welcome the reader through a multipage slideshow before this long piece begins. It traces the journey of one Syrian family’s trip to Europe. Other parts of the series used data to extrapolate out from this one family and give a larger picture of people’s movements and migrations.
Rape on the Night Shift — Reveal / Center for Investigative Reporting
Read. Watch. Listen. Those are the invitations at the beginning of this investigation from CIR’s Reveal and PBS’s Frontline. The story unfolds via an online article, a TV series and a podcast, each giving the audience a different look at the sexual violence perpetrated against immigrant workers. Original artwork, short videos and text are woven together in each part of the story.
Where Would 10.8 Million Displaced Syrians Fit? — Al Jazeera America
First created in 2013 but updated in 2015 during the refugee crisis in Europe and the ensuing debates here in the US, Al Jazeera tries to put the scale of the Syrian migration using population data from US cities. The project then allowed people to submit snapshots of their own area with comments reflecting on the crisis.
Homan Square: A Portrait of Chicago’s Detainees — The Guardian
Spencer Ackerman and Zach Stafford’s groundbreaking report on a secret interrogation facility in Chicago where at least 3,500 Americans have been detained is harrowing enough on its own. But the Guardian also created an interactive feature that provides individual details of many of the detainees and a number of video interviews where former detainees talk about abuse inside the building.
The Drone Papers — The Intercept
One of the most detailed looks at the US Drone program we’ve ever seen came from a cache of documents leaked to the Intercept. Weaving together source documents, photographs and animations that spill off the edges of the screen this series gives the you the feel of flipping through the files yourself.
The Demolition of Worker’s Comp — ProPublica
The poignant original illustrations that ProPublica commissioned for this piece are powerful enough, but then, when paired with interactive data visualization and photography, the piece drives home the struggle and the injustice people who are injured on the job often face.
The Making of a Narco-Terrorist — ProPublica
Using original illustrations and an interactive site that feels like a card game, ProPublica raises questions about sting operations carried out by the Drug Enforcement Administration and the agency’s claims that drug smugglers are funding terror. This project stood out for us because it is encouraging to see the use of hand-made illustrations in journalism as a way to guide a reader into the story similar to the way comics have done so for ages.
Missed Signs. Fatal Consequences — Austin American Statesman
In a massive three-part series, journalists at the Austin American Statesman create a damning narrative about the state of child protective services in Texas. Weaving together original source documents, data, photos and video the heartbreaking series covers the story from many different angles. What makes this project especially compelling is the Stateman’s use of sidebars that include comments and photos from its Facebook community.
CRIMINAL JUSTICE AND POLICE
The Next to Die — The Marshall Project
If you want to know who is on death row and next to be executed, this Marshall Project presentation keeps a visual timeline of each death and the statistics in each state currently practicing the death penalty. It’s grim, it’s up-to-the-date, and takes data journalism to a new dimension. The project uses data and reporting from local partners around the country.
More than 900 people have been fatally shot by police officers in 2015 — Washington Post
There was no one source of data on police shootings so the Washington Post built their own database from “news reports, public records, Internet databases and original reporting.” The result is an unprecedented shooting database where the body count links to tiny profiles of each person who was killed.
The Counted — The Guardian
The Guardian launched their police shooting database about the same time as the Washington Post, but took a very different approach. Building off a few existing datasets, the Guardian turned to the community to help submit tips about police shootings. The project combines reporting with verified crowdsourced information (and you can see their methodology here).
The Empty Chair — New York Magazine
The story of Bill Cosby’s sexual assault allegations was one of the biggest stories of the year, and New York Magazine tackled the issue in a dramatic way: By putting each of his 35 accusers on the cover of the magazine with the exception of one empty chair. While the magazine’s print cover caught everyone’s attention upon release, the publication was even more impressive on the web where it told each of the women’s stories.
Unsolved — Journal Sentinel
Capitalizing on the crowdsourcing sleuthing fever that Serial started in 2014, the Journal Sentinel published this multimedia mystery series — paired with podcasts and videos — about a 14-year-old high school freshman who went missing in the suburbs of Milwaukee 40 years ago.
An Unbelievable Story of Rape — ProPublica / The Marshall Project
The story is about a young woman who was punished by police for reporting a rape they didn’t believe happen, one that was eventually proven true once the serial rapist was caught. But the story is also about two nonprofit news organizations coming together by mere happenstance as two investigative reporters sort of stumbled upon each other as they quietly looked into the same story.
(There is a lot of notable criminal justice reporting that happens at the local level and doesn’t get the attention it deserves. It may not be as flashy as others, but see these two pieces by the Daytona News Journal and Atlanta Journal Constitution)
THE ANNIVERSARY OF HURRICANE KATRINA
Missing Home: What We Demolished in New Orleans After Katrina — The Lens
They say you don’t know what you’ve got until it is gone. Through data, maps and photos the New Orleans-based nonprofit The Lens created this amazing database of all the homes that were demolished after Hurricane Katrina. And through the lens of these properties they told the stories of people who lost their homes.
The Re-Education of New Orleans — Education Week
On the tenth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina Education Week focused in on how schools have changed in the city since the storm. Building on personal stories, strong photos and revealing data the piece tells the story in the voice of the people most affected.
10 Years After Katrina — New York Times
The New York Times took a neighborhood approach to telling the story of Katrina’s anniversary by going back to some of the areas hardest hit by the flooding. With full screen videos and maps that compare flooded areas and demographic changes in the city, the Times tries to put a face on a city that is still in transition.
The Next Big One — Washington Post
This piece weaves together a lot of the elements we’ve come to expect from big online stories including video, maps and stunning photos. However, Washington Post’s coverage also included drone footage and a touching series of profiles of Katrina survivors ten years after the storm.
Do Not Track — Upian, AJ+, ONF, ARTE, Bayerischer Rundfunk, Tribeca and others
In many ways, Do Not Track epitomizes the kind of creative, interactive storytelling that could only be executed on the web. The makes of Do Not Track call it “a personalized documentary series” which adapts to the person watching it. People are invited to share their data with the project, and in return it will show you “what the web knows about you.” (See also this great report on journalism and online documentaries from MIT)
A New Whitney — New York Times
This piece on the new Whitney museum is a rollercoaster of visuals that zooms the reader high above the city and through the glass walls of the new building. (See also A Gift to New York, In Time for the Pope for another interesting architecture piece.)
A Clash in the Name of Care — Boston Globe
The Boston Globe Spotlight team, subjects of one of the 2015’s best movies, delivers a powerful piece of watchdog reporting on surgeons who conduct two procedures at once. The investigation includes a clever feature where names turn into buttons that pop-up background info about the person. The piece pulls together source documents, graphics and video into a powerful package.
The Presidential Election in Emoji — The Atlantic
In a year in which Oxford Dictionaries chose an emoji for it’s “word of the year” it seems only fitting that a news organization should mine the pulse of the American public through the emojis they use to discuss political candidates. The Atlantic’s tracking of emojis in tweets about the candidates is a fascinating look at both social media and shifts in political discourse.
The Life and Times of Strider Wolf — Boston Globe
It is just text and photos with a companion documentary, but it is still one the most heart wrenching and memorable stories from the past year.
Tapered Throne — Brandon Tauszik
Tauszik brings photojournalism to life through subtle and carefully crafted GIFs of Oakland’s black barbershops. The technique extends the emotion of the moment just enough to reveal little details in the motion that you might not get in a still image.
A Walk Through the Gallery: “Henri Matisse: The Cut-Outs” — New York Times
As you scroll down the Museum of Modern Art’s recent Matisse exhibit unfolds across the screen, as if you are walking down the hall staring at the artwork yourself.
Is the Nasdaq in Another Bubble? — Wall Street Journal
The Wall Street Journal turns the ups and downs of the stock market throughout history into a rollercoaster which readers can scroll through on the screen. As you watch you begin to feel the climbs and falls in a way that puts today’s stock market unrest into perspective.
World Bank Projects Leave a Trail of Misery Around the Globe — Huffington Post and ICIJ
In this multi-part investigation by the Huffington Post and ICIJ different episodes employ different tactics from data visualizations to videos. The reporting spans five countries, each with photos and data about the impact of World Bank Projects in those countries.
Social Reporting if Charlie Hebdo — Reported.ly
Reported.ly had just gotten staffed up and running when news broke of the massacre at the offices of the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo in Paris. In their coverage of those events they began to show the power and potential of their distributed social reporting approach. Be sure to read their debrief on the coverage.
What did we miss? Help us continue to shine a spotlight on great reporting by adding links and your thoughts in the comments. (We know this list is very US-centric, so we’d love to see more examples of non-US journalism and multilingual reporting.)
Follow us on Twitter @jcstearns and @rungomez and sign up for the Local Fix newsletter for more great examples of amazing journalism and tips for how to create your own.