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Local Matters by Jackie Spinner

Jackie Spinner is the editor of Gateway Journalism Review (gatewayjr.org) and an associate professor at Columbia College Chicago. Send story tips to jspinner@colum.edu

What local media can do to help disseminate accurate information about vaccine efficacy

We are at a crossroads in America yet again, grappling with a virus that is stealing lives and time, just as our children return to school. When we cover contentious school board meetings where people ...

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Don't leave the Afghanistan withdrawal stories to the national outlets

For American soldiers, diplomats and humanitarians who served and worked in Afghanistan, the pending final withdrawal of troops from the longest war in American history is more than a historical note. ...

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Journalists dispel the many inaccurate narratives about the Black Lives Matter movement

A few weeks ago, I got an anonymous letter sent to my home address objecting to the “Black Lives Matter” sign I have in my front yard. It was purportedly from a “concerned resident” ...

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I want to see us move forward with all of the insights and lessons we’ve learned

I realized that after more than a year living in a pandemic, trying to teach journalism and do journalism and be a parent, all in the same place, I’m really fatigued. What tires me the most is the ...

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We question everybody — especially elected officials

First, it’s important that we remind our communities that we are watchdogs, examining the conduct and the financial records and the decision of every public official. This is not about defending ...

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It’s up to us to figure out how to report fairly and inclusively

On March 18, a 21-year-old white man was arrested and charged with murder after allegedly going on a shooting rampage at three Atlanta-area businesses that left eight people dead, six of whom were Asian ...

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Help communities navigate the vaccination process

Throughout [my mother's] scramble to find an appointment, which included being turned away at a county vaccination site after erroneously thinking she had made one, I kept wondering what role local news ...

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We need to host the conversation that our communities need to have

Some of our readers, or at the very least, some of our community members, participated in the rally and then charged the Capitol. Some simply went to Washington, convinced that the election was stolen. ...

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Focus on science-based reporting on the vaccine

This isn’t and shouldn’t be about politics. This is about health reporting and science, and if we don’t have dedicated health reporters — most local news outlets do not, then we ...

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We risk letting our own echo chambers reinforce how we see the world

The highest early youth turnout was in the battleground states of Michigan, Texas, Minnesota and Florida. (It’s down in Pennsylvania.) This creates an incredible opportunity for us to make the case ...

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Pandemic offers a chance to reset

Colleges and universities have become the new pandemic hot spots across the country. A New York Times study of more than 1,600 American colleges and universities — including every four-year public ...

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We fact-check because we want to find the truth

A few days ago, a former elementary school classmate of mine shared a viral post on Facebook about how Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden was going to raise taxes for middle income families by 25%.  I ...

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To keep our community’s trust, we need to explain the decisions we make and what motivates us

That makes it challenging to cover the coronavirus story, particularly when many of our readers are making decisions based on politics. We can’t be divorced from the actual experiences of our ...

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It’s in the language we choose, the people we quote and the people we don’t

We are in the midst of a racial reckoning in our country that is more visible in some places than others, but in all places, it is long overdue, including in our newsrooms.

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The Greylock Glass experiments with alternative funding methods

But during a recent fundraiser to try to keep his arts news venture running during the pandemic, Velásquez was shaken by how little people were willing to pay to support local news.

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College journalism students are living back at home now, and they are anxious to practice the skills they have learned

Most will not need to get paid if their college or university offers internship credit. You’ll have to take on a bit of paperwork in exchange. But I know many of my students willingly would work ...

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It’s not easy to balance our profession and our community’s needs with the need to take care of ourselves

Mark Busch hasn’t been able to do that. The photo editor for the DeKalb Daily Chronicle in northern Illinois is still going out to document the coronavirus pandemic, including a recent assignment ...

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Local journalism serves a crucial role in helping engage our communities about why we are here, why we do what we do

We don’t often hear from readers at the magazine where I’m editor. The majority of our readers at Gateway Journalism Review are educators, reporters and editors. Our coverage — and our ...

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Fight misinformation this election season

In the hours after Iran attacked two Iraqi military bases that housed U.S. troops early this year, social media predictably was rampant with rumors. Old and doctored photos surfaced, claiming to show the ...

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We can't be afraid to confront this

A sweeping new Pew Center report that examines trust in the media confirmed an uneasy truth that we can no longer afford to ignore. It’s not just that our readers don’t trust us. They think ...

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