5 Big Ideas for Next Big Idea Club nomination

The Next Big Idea Club has selected Death of the Daily News for its short list of nonfiction books coming out in September. Their curators—Susan Cain, Malcolm Gladwell, Adam Grant, and Daniel Pink—ultimately will select two titles and ask the authors to share five big ideas from their book.

Here are my five big ideas:

  1. Local news creates social capital. Newspapers not only inform people but also bring them together in ways that create and reinforce community. When local news disappears, connections among residents start to break.
  2. Citizens already are doing journalism. We refer to places without traditional news outlets as “news deserts,” but that’s not accurate. News still happens. It’s just that journalists are not there to make sense of it. Instead, in many places, individuals look around, ask questions and report out what they discover. They just don’t do a great job of it.
  3. Journalists should help citizens do better. Professional reporters often dismiss working with the public as too messy and time-consuming. As newsrooms cut back, journalists should help citizens identify accurate information and partner with them to cover more perspectives.
  4. Tweets matter. We act like social media messages are ephemeral and just disappear. They actually make up our shared community conversations. Individuals should embrace the Peter Parker principle: With great power, comes great responsibility. Use social media wisely.
  5. Facebook could revolutionize local news. Thousands of people volunteer their time as Facebook group administrators, trying to make sense of local news and sharing their findings. The social media platform should train these people to do a better job. It would help communities – and it makes financial sense.

Death of the Daily News comes out in September, with pre-sales taking place online now.

Media Deserts Grant

I’m pleased to announce that I have won my first academic grant as part of my new life as a PhD student in Community Engagement. Point Park University awarded a Social Impact Grant for fellow student Keino Fitzpatrick and me to explore the role of media deserts in McKeesport, Pa. The city has a rich history of media coverage but it has not had a newspaper since the Daily News closed two years ago. We already have started some small work. This will allow us to continue and expand. We have been fortunate also to work with freelance journalist Jennifer Jordan, Pulitzer prize-winning photographer Martha Rial and the CMI’s grad assistant Ashley Murray.

Students from McKeesport visited the Center for Media Innovation at Point Park University in December 2017.