Announcing the debut of ‘What Works,’ a podcast about the future of local news

I am thrilled to announce the debut of our podcast, “What Works: The Future of Local News,” from Northeastern University’s School of Journalism.

Every month — and soon, perhaps, every week — former Boston Globe editor Ellen Clegg and I will talk to journalists, policymakers and entrepreneurs about efforts they’re making to keep local news alive. (We’re working on a book with the same name.) Corporate chains and hedge funds are squeezing the life out of local news. There is a better way. We and our guests are telling that story.

In our first episode, I interview Massachusetts state Rep. Lori Ehrlich, a Marblehead Democrat who co-sponsored legislation to launch a commission that will study the future of local news in the state. (Note: I’ll be a member of the commission.) Ehrlich lays out her vision and underscores the role that local journalism plays in a democracy. Ellen and I share a few quick takes on the news as well.

You can subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or Pocket Casts, and we’re aiming for more platforms soon. We hope you’ll give it a listen — we’re very excited about this project, which has been long in the making.

Also, many thanks to Alison Booth, who designed the graphic that accompanies our podcast, and to Promiser, whose song “WOW!” is our theme. Wow indeed.

Can community journalism be saved?

Ellen Clegg and I talked with Hillary Chabot of News at Northeastern about our book project, tentatively titled “What Works: The Future of Local News.”

A conversation about news deserts and ghost newspapers

I had a chance Thursday to talk about news deserts and ghost newspapers with Gina Baleria, the host of the podcast called “News in Context.” Baleria is a former radio journalist who’s now an assistant professor of journalism, media writing and digital media at Sonoma State University. You can listen to our conversation or grab the feed right here.

Can independent local news succeed? It already is. And we’re going to tell that story.

Photo (cc) 2015 by Dave Wilson

A big announcement from Ellen Clegg and me: We are working on a book about successful community journalism projects across the country. The tentative title: “What Works: The Future of Local News.” Today we outline our plans for the Nieman Journalism Lab.

This hasn’t been a secret. We actually started our reporting more than a year ago but had to hit pause when the pandemic came. Now we’re starting up again. And I’m really excited to be working with a pro like Ellen. Much, much more to come.

The book is scheduled to be published by Beacon Press in the second half of 2023.