Equipping local journalism

The spotlight will and should remain on how to strengthen local journalism, especially how to equip local journalists with the tools they need for ambitious accountability and investigative reporting, as we’ve been trying to do at The Marshall Project. Those include data analysis; alternative storytelling tools that allow the use of video, audio, and data visualization; public records requests; audience analytics; and legal help to extract information from officials who’ve gotten used to lax oversight.

We’ll see more exploration of engagement reporting — fundamentally, how do journalists become more proactive, responsible, and respectful in interacting with the communities they write about? How do they understand what kind of information these communities feel they lack — even if that is less sexy, too often dismissed and undervalued basic service journalism that explains how systems work? How do you absorb people’s views and the scars they’ve taken from encounters with journalism while maintaining your journalistic independence and integrity?

They’re tough challenges, but they make contemporary journalism so urgent and a continuing adventure.

Susan Chira is the editor-in-chief of The Marshall Project.

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