With the January 2024 publication date of our book, “What Works in Community News,” drawing ever closer, we want to keep you up to date on new developments at the projects that we track.
The big news today is that Mukhtar Ibrahim, the founder of Sahan Journal, is stepping down as chief executive officer. Ibrahim launched the nonprofit (relaunched, actually; it’s complicated) five years ago to cover Minnesota’s immigrants and communities of color. He writes:
I am proud of the remarkable success story that our dedicated staff has built. We have grown from a four-person newsroom to an amazing and talented team of 20, covering a wide range of essential topics and producing innovative multimedia content. We have built an equitable, transparent, and responsive work culture that supports the professional development and well-being of every staff member.
Kate Maxwell, the publisher and co-founder of The Mendocino Voice in Northern California, has written a useful guide for the Reynolds Journalism Institute at the University of Missouri aimed at newsrooms looking to put together a kit to be used when covering emergencies. It’s a need that the Voice is experienced with, given that it covers an area frequently hit by wildfires. Maxwell begins:
For newsrooms preparing to cover emergencies, there are a range of material and operational considerations to examine such as necessary equipment, staff support and schedules, and how to stay safe in the middle of a disaster. Planning the practical ways you will communicate with each other and community members, and how to get crucial information out to the people who need it, is an essential part of preparing your newsroom and your community for an emergency.
Finally, Joe Amditis of the Center for Cooperative Media at Montclair State University in New Jersey, tells us about a collaborative effort to put together ahead of next week’s legislative elections. The guide, NJ Decides 2023, was put together by the center; NJ Spotlight News, one of the media organizations that we profile in our book; and the NJ Civic Information Consortium, a publicly funded effort to bolster local news in New Jersey.
A number of other news outlets assisted with reporting, and the guide is available not only in English but also in Chinese, Spanish, Turkish, Urdu and Korean. According to Amditis:
The collaborative then split the races up, with journalists from each news organization claiming the candidates they would commit to chase down.
Collaborative members sent hundreds of emails, social media messages, text messages and phone calls trying to convince candidates to fill out the form. Many did so immediately; others needed to be reminded multiple times.