Publisher's Note

 


Last week, I attended the Story Discovery at the Scale conference held at Stanford University.The conference brought together a mix of reporters, publishers, technologists, and academics to discuss tools and resources to help news organizations of all sizes better cover local news. Attendees ranged in size from small community news blogs to The New York Times. The Eagle was invited to help represent the needs of small, rural communities like ours. I spoke on a panel about the challenges of deploying new technology and practices in news organizations. We are deep in this right now—The Eagle’s long history has left us with a mixture of old and new. We are excited to try out new technology that could leave us more time to cover the news, and provide new ways to cover it. But right now, our focus is on learning what is needed to get the paper out each week. I learned about a number of resources I’m excited to use to better serve the community. The first is a program called the Documenters Network. This program trains, empowers, and even pays ordinary citizens to attend and report on public meetings. I’m overjoyed to find this program; it’s exactly what we’re working to set up. Getting connected with this training and support will make this so much easier, and will help us do it in a way that upholds the journalistic ethics we need. The other program is called Report for America. This is a fellowship program that places and funds journalists in underserved communities for two years. A similar program has recently started in our state, the Murrow Fellowship from Washington State University. We’re working on applications for both of these programs. I hope one will help us; this is one way we can get back some of the journalistic expertise we’ve lost since my father’s death last year. Finally, I talked to a number of organizations that employ a hybrid for-profit/non-profit model to better serve their communities. The Eagle has long worked because of the leadership and sacrifice of a single individual, my father, and my grandfather before him. This approach no longer works. I want to bring the community in; to empower you to create the news organization you need. I look forward to talking with all of you about this more in the coming weeks.

 

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