We Created a Laboratory for Local News — Here is What We’ve Learned So Far

Josh Stearns
2 min readFeb 15, 2016


Last week Molly de Aguiar and I released “Lessons From the Local News Lab: Building a More Connected and Collaborative News Ecosystem.”

The report is meant to be a resource for people who are interested in innovation in journalism and media, especially at the local level. It collects our lessons from a series of creative experiments in developing new revenue models and piloting community driven reporting projects.

Download a copy of the entire report here.

The report features advice on:

  • How to turn a crowdfunding campaign into a membership program.
  • How to make space to test big ideas while maintaining the day-to-day work of running a newsroom.
  • How to invite the community into the reporting process.
  • How to structure collaborations with other newsrooms.
  • How foundations can support more sustainable and resilient local news.

We’ve also published all the chapters as posts here on Medium — you can find them below.

Lessons From the Local News Lab: Building a More Connected and Collaborative News Ecosystem

Part One: Introduction and Key Takeways

Part Two: Experimenting With New Revenue Models for News

Part Three: Community Engagement Inside and Outside the Newsroom

Part Four: How New Networks Can Strengthen Local News

Part Five: Rethinking Journalism Philanthropy

Part Six: What’s Next for the Local News Lab



Josh Stearns

Senior Director, Public Square Program at the Democracy Fund. Journalism and democracy of, by and for the people. Formerly: @grdodge @freepress