Connecting North Carolina's news & information community
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Eric here. On my return from a few days out of the state, I can confirm: There's never a dull moment in the news and information community of North Carolina. All of North Carolina. Kernersville. Salisbury. Burlington. I'll bring you a little of the news in a minute. But first, this week's highlight: Workshop intern Gabriela Rivas-De Leon interviews one of our most innovative news leaders — Paola Jaramillo, co-founder and executive editor of Enlace Latino NC.

At Enlace, ‘we're going to keep learning’

By Gabriela Rivas-De Leon, NC Local News Workshop intern

Happy Hispanic Heritage Month! Hispanics are one of the fastest-growing populations within the United States, and about 1 million North Carolina residents identify as Hispanic and/or Latinx. However, few news organizations around the state directly serve the Hispanic community with stories and resources.

Enlace Latino NC, founded in 2018, is the first Spanish digital-only media organization in North Carolina. Founded to close the information gap in the Latinx community, it boasts a website, a podcast, a radio show, and four newsletters that target the different rural and urban Spanish-speaking communities within the state.

During my discussion a few days ago with Paola Jaramillo, the executive director and founder of Enlace Latino, she stressed the importance of collaboration with other news organizations around the state. Not only does collaboration boost awareness of Enlace, partnerships normalize accessibility for those who are non-white or multiracial. Just because a resident of North Carolina doesn’t speak English does not mean they don’t have the right to access information that affects their day-to-day life. Advocacy is a shared responsibility, and I’m hopeful that through our community listening sessions and our focus on helping organizations like Enlace Latino find meaningful partners, everyone in North Carolina will be able to get trustworthy news and information, regardless of the language they speak.
Read our full conversation, en español and in English
Thank you, Gaby and Paola. Elsewhere this week...

From the Workshop


A reminder that the NC Local News Workshop and the NC Open Government Coalition have set March 16 as the date for the second annual NC News & Information Summit at Elon. If you are interested in joining the planning committee or learning about sponsorship opportunities, please contact Workshop director Shannan Bowen and Coalition director Brooks Fuller...

◼️  Going to the Independent News Sustainability Summit in Austin this month? Let Shannan know. There's still time to register for the conference, which is October 27-29 and hosted by LION Publishers, News Revenue Hub and RevLab at Texas Tribune.

API funds four NC listening projects

We talked last week about the value of community listening and the Workshop’s project in Western North Carolina. ICYMI, Brenda Murphree, who runs that project, laid out some key pointers to help you do some intentional listening.
Now the American Press Institute is funding 31 news organizations to help them incorporate community listening into their coverage of this year’s election and its aftermath, through the Election Coverage & Community Listening Fund. Priority was given to projects designed to boost trust and engagement with communities of color, and lessons learned from the projects will be shared widely. 

Four of the selected organizations are in North Carolina:
  • The Assembly and the Advanced Reporting program at the UNC Hussman School of Journalism and Media “will use methodology from small group listening models to help teams of student reporters better engage with ‘news desert’ communities on voting, elections, and democracy” across the state.
  • Carolina Public Press, in addition to its Democracy Day work last month, will expand a research project “exploring news consumption in rural communities where broadband is inaccessible.” It will produce election FAQs based on reader input, and do all analysis and explainers in English and Spanish.
  • Mountain Xpress in Asheville will do a listening project “aimed at understanding the concerns and motivations of unaffiliated voters in Western North Carolina.”
  • The News & Observer in the Triangle will “seek to fill information gaps about the hundreds of candidates in this year’s contested elections for the North Carolina legislature, especially involving areas outside the Triangle and Charlotte, using candidate questionnaires, community conversations and other methods.”  
Sharing opportunity: The N&O, by the way, has been sending those questionnaires to candidates in all 170 General Assembly races, in an initiative called Project 170, led by reporter Kyle Ingram. It's making the responses available free to all local publications in the state, and also putting them outside the paywall on the N&O, Herald-Sun and Charlotte Observer sites. [Find out more.] 

You can read more about the Election Coverage & Community Listening Fund here.

An inventive health care news partnership

North Carolina Health News and The Charlotte Ledger have jointly hired a reporter, Michelle Crouch, to report on health care and its infrastructure in the Charlotte area. 

The two publications are funding the position for now but will work to extend it through grants and individual contributions. Crouch’s work not only will appear in both The Ledger and NC Health News, but they are making it available free to any other media outlet. 

The partnership began last weekend, and already Crouch’s first story in the initiative has published — about the area’s largest independent primary care practice no longer accepting the Humana Medicare Advantage plan, and the effect on patients of such decisions born of failed contract negotiations.

You can read more about the partnership on the two sites, including insights from NC Health News founder/editor Rose Hoban and Ledger executive editor Tony Mecia. In addition, Mecia talks with Hoban and Crouch about the initiative on an episode of The Charlotte Ledger Podcast.

More news about the news

Big news for journalists and newsrooms who need legal support: Four organizations are partnering to expand ProJourn, the Protecting Journalists Pro Bono Program. ProJourn provides no-cost expert legal assistance, with pre-publication review and public records access, to small news organizations, nonprofits, documentary filmmakers and freelancers who otherwise cannot afford it.

The mission of ProJourn, which is operated by the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, is to enable the kind of investigative work and other consequential reporting in the public interest that might not be possible without access to legal counsel.

The partners are RCFP, Microsoft, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and Davis Wright Tremaine.
    ➵ I'll have much more next week on the ProJourn initiative, and what it means in North Carolina. Meanwhile, here's the landscape analysis that demonstrated the need for more pro bono help for journalists.
🗞️ The Assembly has a new content management system, founder/editor Kyle Villemain reports — and the result for readers, while subtle at first, will be “more creativity and variety in what we can publish — including data visualization, video, photography.” [Find out more.]

🗞️ Democracy Fund’s Public Square program has revised its strategies to promote equitable journalism, supporting work “to ensure that all people have access to news and information that advances justice, confronts racism and inequality, and equips people to make change and thrive.” Program director Josh Stearns has the details.
Bulletin board

Job postings

📌 Editor, The Highlander, Highlands.
📌 Reporter, The Franklin Press.


📌 Hurry: The deadline to apply to be this year’s IRE Journalist of Color Investigative Reporting Fellow is Thursday (October 6). [Find out more.]

📌 Data journalist Jeremy Singer-Vine has launched The Data Liberation Project, "an initiative to identify, obtain, reformat, clean, document, publish, and disseminate government datasets of public interest." You can learn more here and sign up for the project's newsletter.

📌 The Neal Peirce Foundation is awarding up to seven travel grants of $1,500 to help journalists report on urban solutions. [Learn more and apply by October 15.]
For your consideration...
I still remember that Pleistocene week when I was pressed into emergency service — and that must have been a DEFCON 2 level emergency to fly to New York and represent McClatchy, along with my actually qualified comrades Peyton Vaughn and Tom Markart, at a Global Editors Network hackathon. (That's me in the daguerreotype, trying to hide in the back lest someone ask me a question.)

We actually won the audience choice award (but not the trip to Paris for the world finals, which the ACC refs — er, the judges — gave to the BBC). How? We created a ridiculously innovative way to algorithmically automate the personalized digital delivery of news for each reader. (Don’t ask.)

That was in 2014. Eons ago. (So long ago, in fact, that the Rangers actually won an Eastern Conference final the night before. At the hackathon I still smelled like the geysers of grog that had shot through the air at the final horn inside some neighborhood pub – in Chelsea, I think it was.) 

OK, I'll get to the point: It’s surprising to me, given the way the news business moves now, that personalizing homepages (NYT, Washington Post, some others) is still a thing. Personalized delivery is happening with newsletters, too — and if you're thinking of trying it, Sara Guaglione for Digiday lays out the issues to consider.
Also for the reading list...

“(The) power of journalism comes from the primacy of reporting — from telling (audiences) things that people in power would prefer they not know.”  The Reporters Who Proved That Journalism Is More Powerful Than TrumpJohn F. Harris, founding editor, Politico.
That's all for now. Thanks for being here, and I'll see you next week. Take care. 

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