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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

This is a moment to start walking, taking in as we go, responding ...

This is a good story for local news organizations in communities with colleges or universities. Now, more than ever, is the time to hire a higher ed reporter or at least give the beat to an aspiring student ...

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In this generation of whataboutism, what does it mean to cover your community fairly?

Pew asked people about “whataboutism”-- giving equal play to both sides, a journalistic tactic I learned decades ago in my first college journalism course. Actually, I probably learned it even ...

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Explain how the system works

Far too many of our readers, as evidenced by the support the Jan. 6 insurrectionists still have, do not seem to understand how government works and why threats to it undermine the core of our democratic ...

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Journalists must debate ethics of interviewing vulnerable subjects

Obviously, it is important for reporters to be sensitive, particularly to young victims, to remember that the majority of the people we interview have no experience with talking to the media. We often ...

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Longtime newspaper reporter explores documentary film-making

For me, a documentary is just a different way to tell a story. I still try to do it objectively and fairly.

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Young journalists deserve more than we had

We simply cannot expect or demand that the next generation of journalists come work for us at barely minimum wage without at least offering other workplace incentives that help offset it. Of course, workplace ...

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What role, if any, do local news outlets have in covering the Russian invasion story?

We have an obligation to our readers to point them to credible news sources about Russia and Ukraine, even if we might not be covering the story ourselves. Russia’s propaganda machine is effective ...

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‘No story is worth your life’

One TV reporter described on social media how her bosses routinely sent her to cover crime stories, with suspects still on the loose, and before the police were on the scene. Another was assaulted at an ...

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COVID-19 remains a local story

COVID-19 remains a local story, especially if elective surgeries are getting canceled again, especially if our hospitals are running out of beds again, especially if our beleaguered health care systems ...

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‘We love to talk gas in America, even when our theories are full of hot air’ — explain the reasons behind shortages and price changes

It’s not just in the U.S.; there are shortages across the globe. Gas prices are also high in Britain, France, Spain, Italy and Greece. Biden isn’t being blamed for the increases there; Russia ...

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It’s hard to feel connected when you can’t even find the paper

Sorry, the clerk told me. They don’t sell the paper. I tried another store. And another. And then another. I must have searched a half-dozen stores within a one-block radius of my north side Chicago ...

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For Afghan-Americans whose families haven’t yet made it out, the story hasn’t ended

It is hard to measure the ways in which these last 20 years have shaped that small percentage of us. Over time, the good and the bad have mingled into one experience, like a death of a loved one that sneaks ...

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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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