On this week’s “What Works” podcast, Ellen and I talk with Anne Larner, a civic leader in Newton, Massachusetts, a city of nearly 90,000 people on the border of Boston. Anne is on the board of directors of The Newton Beacon, an independent nonprofit news outlet covering Newton.
Anne has a long track record of civic engagement in Newton and in Massachusetts. She moved to Newton in 1973 and has served on the School Committee, the Newton League of Women Voters, and has been a PTO president, among many roles. She also served 15 years at the MBTA Advisory Board, a public watchdog agency.
Newton is a microcosm of what’s happening in local news all over the country. Years ago, Newton had four local newspapers: The Newton Times, the Graphic, the Tribune and the Tab. But Gannett shut down a number of Massachusetts newspapers last year, including the print weekly, the Newton Tab. The Gannett digital site, Wicked Local, is still up and running. But content is regional.
Ellen has a Quick Take on MLK50, the award-winning Memphis newsroom that focuses on poverty, power and justice. They’ve received two major philanthropic grants that allow them to build for the future. And speaking of MLK50, executive editor Adrienne Johnson Martin was here at Northeastern ahead of Martin Luther King Day to give a talk on their work in Memphis. We’ll feature some interviews from that by our colleague Dakotah Kennedy.
I’ve got news about the Rebuild Local News Coalition, a new nonprofit organization that’s advocating for solutions to the local news crisis. But wait. It’s not new. And the solutions that it’s proposing aren’t new, either. We talked with the co-founder of the coalition, Steven Waldman, last summer, and our conversation is worth a listen if you missed it earler. Still, this is good news, which I explain.
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