February 06, 2019

Partnerships between community newspapers and local nonprofits

The news site 100 Days in Appalachia recently featured an interesting piece by Larry "Bud" Meyer about Foothills Forum, a small-scale journalism nonprofit in rural Rappahannock County, Virginia.

Meyer co-founded Foothills Forum, he writes, because local residents hungered for news that the local newspaper didn't always have the staff or resources to pursue. Meyer writes:

So, after a year of listening – interviews and focus groups with more than 100 citizens – we promised to commission high-quality explanatory journalism in conjunction with the weekly. We believed the community would support an independent, nonpartisan nonprofit by opening their wallets, even if they were skeptical about what they’d be getting. Foothills also pledged to live up to the “forum” part of the name by bringing folks together in our fire halls and churches to discuss the issues as reported and what could be done about them.
Instead of competing with the local newspaper, however, Foothills Forum set out to partner with it, working together to earn reader trust and push for substantive change. 

The story, which you can read here, is an interesting case study in collaboration between a community newspaper and a hyperlocal community group. If you know of similar collaborations - particularly in rural communities - please mention them in a comment on this post. 

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