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Local News Field Guide: Insights from one of the most successful local news outlets

The Local News Field Guide was established through Chalkbeat’s partnership with the Google News Initiative

Google News Initiative and Chalkbeat have launched the Local News Field Guide, an online resource created for local newsrooms and newsroom leaders.

The goal of the 8-module guide is to help news organizations across the globe rethink the traditional approach to local reporting, audience building, and creating long-lasting revenue streams.

Each of the sections in the Local News Field Guide was authored by a key member of Chalkbeat’s staff, highlighting its newsroom’s innovative approach to producing quality civic-focused journalism.

Built on Chalkbeat’s learnings from the past decade, the guide covers topics such as drafting a strategic plan, developing a newsroom’s primary narrative, tracking their journalism’s impact in their communities, and building a high-functioning revenue team.

Later this summer, Chalkbeat and Google News Initiative will also host free virtual workshops  that accompany the guide. 

“Chalkbeat has been a pioneer for single-subject-focus, non-profit news, and we are excited to partner with them to scale their insights to other local newsrooms,” said Ben Monnie, Director of News Global Partnership Solutions at Google.

Chalkbeat’s Local News Field Guide and workshops are important additions to the GNI’s Digital Growth Program resources for small and mid-sized news publishers, which provide playbooks, workshops and labs on audience development, reader revenue, advertising, data and product strategy. 

Founded in 2013, Chalkbeat is one of the country’s strongest nonprofit news organizations and the largest local newsroom covering public education in America, with bureaus in Chicago, Colorado, Detroit, Indiana, New Jersey, New York, Philadelphia, and Tennessee. 

The team of 89 includes Pulitzer winners and Fulbright scholars who have contributed to the country’s most prestigious publications who produce high-quality reporting that highlights teacher and student voices and convenes communities to tackle their most pressing issues. 

As an organization that is committed to civic engagement and democracy through local news, Chalkbeat has no paywalls or subscribers, and provides its stories for free to the general public and media partners. 

Chalkbeat has spent almost ten years rethinking local news — both the business model of local news but also the fundamental relationship between reporters and the communities we cover.

We’ve turned many years’ worth of lessons learned into the Local News Field Guide, and we hope it helps others build the newsrooms that our communities deserve.

Alison Go, Chief Strategy Officer at Chalkbeat

The guide is available here:
Local News Field Guide