New Report: Lessons Learned from the Local News Lab

Sharing what we’ve learned from our experiments in revenue and community engagment for local news.

By Molly de Aguiar and Josh Stearns of the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation

For the last 18 months the Local News Lab has been supporting local journalists who seek to transform their business model and reconnect with their communities. Through a series of strategic investments, in-depth coaching and creative engagement projects we have learned volumes.

Today we are releasing a new report: “Lessons From the Local News Lab: Building a More Connected and Collaborative News Ecosystem.”

The six essays document key takeaways, replicable lessons and fresh ideas that we hope can be useful to other journalists, communities and foundations who care about the future of people’s access to local news and information.

Download a copy of the entire report here.

The report explores a series of big questions:

  • How might we foster innovation in revenue models for local news?
  • How might communities be more active participants in local news?
  • How might new networks help strengthen journalism sustainability and increase the availability of local news?
  • How might newsrooms, working with communities, better represent and respond to the diverse needs of local people?
  • How might philanthropy support local news beyond paying for content?

If you would rather read each section on the web, we’ve published the chapters as posts here on Medium. They are all linked below.

(Note: There is addition detail, charts, pictures and information on the grants we’ve made in the full report.)

This work has been made possible through generous support from the Knight Foundation and the Democracy Fund.


Molly de Aguiar (@MollydeAguiar) is the Informed Communities Program Director and Josh Stearns(@jcstearns) is the Director of the Journalism Sustainability project at the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation.

The Dodge Foundation’s Informed Communities grants seek to strengthen and grow the New Jersey news ecosystem and support local journalism as a critical space for innovation, creativity and community building. For more information on this work, visit the Local News Lab and the Dodge Foundation’s website. Sign up for the Local Fix weekly newsletter here.