From NC Local: The right to know, takeaways from the Workshop’s public records training session

By Eric Frederick

NC Local newsletter editor
Obviously, reporting on public meetings has changed this year, with most of them going virtual. Journalists, as always, have faced issues getting public records, and data are even more crucial now to public health and safety. The challenges of reporting on police actions have been amplified, and we’re dealing with legislative secrecy.

The NC Local News Workshop and the NC Open Government Coalition at Elon, working with the NC Press Association, held a session Aug. 26 where journalists and experts shared what they’ve learned about getting public information in these times.

Panelists were communications lawyers Amanda Martin and Mike Tadych, and reporters Tyler Dukes of WRAL; Emily Featherston of WECT; Nick Ochsner of WBTV; Victoria Bouloubasis, a freelance investigative reporter who has been working with Enlace Latino NC; Kirk Ross of Carolina Public Press; and Lucille Sherman of The News & Observer and The Herald-Sun. [Watch the Zoom recording.]

Key takeaways:

Read moreFrom NC Local: The right to know, takeaways from the Workshop’s public records training session

Covering Voting for Voters: Register now to inform your local journalism

NC BOE site

North Carolina’s election season begins this Friday, Sept. 4, as the first absentee ballots in the nation start going out by mail. Get information and resources on how you’re covering the election process at a special convening on Zoom with elections officials and journalists, sponsored by the NC Local News Workshop, NC Open Government Coalition, and NC Press Association.

Register now for “Covering Voting for Voters,” scheduled for Sept. 9 from 9-10:30 a.m. Share your questions, and links to your own coverage so we can highlight it. Translation will be offered for participation by Spanish speakers.

Panelists include:

  • State Elections Director Karen Brinson Bell
    Karen Brinson Bell
    Derek Bowens
    Derek Bowens

    and Durham County Director Derek Bowens, who will outline what they think voters should know about the election process and what the public can expect.

  • Reporters including Jordan Wilkie from Carolina Public Press, Will Doran from The News & Observer, Paola Jaramillo of EnlaceLatinoNC, Wake Board of Elections member and Twitter election information provider Gerry Cohen, on what local journalists should be looking out for in their counties.
  • News organizations including Scalawag, The N&O, QCityMetro, and The Daily Tar Heel about building election coverage around community and voter needs.
  • John Hernandez from the American Press Institute and its Trusted Elections Network on resources for covering misinformation.

Send questions or comments to Melanie Sill, NC Local News Workshop executive director.

Meanwhile, catch up via Zoom recording on two recent events focused on public records and covering COVID-19 for Spanish speakers: Check our events page for those links.

Cobertura de noticias en español en Carolina del Norte se expande durante la pandemia y revela brechas

Medios de comunicación en inglés y español junto con líderes de la comunidad comparten lecciones y desafíos al producir periodismo para, por y sobre hispanohablantes en Carolina del Norte, donde la pandemia pegó temprano y duro.

Por Marco Quiroz-Gutierrez

Durante los últimos años, Paola Jaramillo y Walter Gómez han construido su sitio digital de noticias en español, Enlace Latino NC, y con la llegada de COVID-19, sabían que para servir a su publico, necesitaban hacer más que solo reportar las noticias.

Enlace Latino, con sede en el Triangle, está interactuando con los latinos durante la pandemia yendo más allá de reportar para averiguar lo que quiere saber su público. El grupo de WhatsApp de Enlace, en donde los fundadores escuchan y interactúan con su audiencia, ha crecido a 800 personas, de las 50 que tenía cuando recién empezó.

Jaramillo y Gómez fueron parte de los más de 30 representantes de los medios en inglés y español, junto con líderes de organizaciones que apoyan a la comunidad latina, que asistieron a la primera conferencia de NC Local News Workshop, ¿Qué estamos aprendiendo al cubrir COVID-19 para los hispanohablantes en Carolina del Norte?”

Los asistentes discutieron sobre lo que falta en la cobertura de COVID-19 para los latinos y cómo información sobre la pandemia debería ser diseminada a está población que tiene el porcentaje más alto de casos de COVID-19 en Carolina del Norte. Muchos reportaron esfuerzos adicionales para distribuir información, y obstáculos que complicaban esos esfuerzos — incluyendo encontrar dinero para fundar su periodismo.

Read moreCobertura de noticias en español en Carolina del Norte se expande durante la pandemia y revela brechas

NC Spanish-language news coverage expands amid COVID-19, and reveals gaps

Latino and English-language media and community leaders share lessons and challenges in producing journalism by, for, and about Spanish-speaking NC, where the pandemic hit early and hard

By Marco Quiroz-Gutierrez

Paola Jaramillo and Walter Gómez have spent several years building the digital Spanish-language news site Enlace Latino NC, and when COVID-19 hit, they knew they needed to do more than just report stories to serve their audience.

Enlace Latino, based in the Triangle, is engaging Latinos during the pandemic by going beyond reporting to learn what its audience wants to know about. Enlace’s WhatsApp group, where the founders listen and interact with their audience, has grown to 800 people from 50 when it first launched.

Jaramillo and Gómez were among more than 30 representatives from the English and Spanish-language media, along with leaders of organizations serving Latiino residents, who attended the NC Local News Workshop’s first knowledge-sharing gathering, held Aug. 5 via Zoom: “What are we learning from covering COVID-19 for NC’s Spanish speakers?”

The attendees discussed what is missing from COVID-19 coverage for and about Latino residents, and how information about the pandemic should be disseminated to this group, which has the highest portion of COVID-19 cases in North Carolina. Many reported extra efforts to deliver information, and big challenges in doing so — including finding funding to pay for reporting.

Read moreNC Spanish-language news coverage expands amid COVID-19, and reveals gaps

Intern Corps delivered a raft of NC stories and a tryout of pooled local reporting

 

Anton L. Delgado covered a Charlotte protest in June for the NC Local News Intern Corps. Photograph by Grace Terry.

The NC Local News Intern Corps, an idea prompted by the COVID-19 crisis, came together in May and delivered its first stories in early June from a summer newsroom of four reporting interns and a supervising editor. Over the weekend, after the group’s final day, intern Anton L. Delgado delivered an update on Twitter about the team’s impact:

 

Those numbers kept growing this week, and answered one of the questions we had for the Intern Corps: Would newsrooms be able to use stories from a pool?

The answer was yes, with more than 50 editors on our email list by the program’s end: many stories reached a variety of audiences, from mainstream newspapers to Black and Latinx digital media outlets, and some continued getting picked up in the weeks after initial posting.

Now, we’re doing more assessment: surveying editors, talking with the interns, and measuring impact: What does this program show us in terms of the NC Local News Workshop’s goals for strengthening local news?

This wasn’t just an intern program, but also the first initiative of the Workshop, which launched this year as a response to major disruption in local news — the dramatic loss of local journalists in North Carolina and elsewhere, and the opportunities for new approaches to helping people know what’s happening in their own state and communities.

Read moreIntern Corps delivered a raft of NC stories and a tryout of pooled local reporting

New event Aug. 5: COVID-19 coverage in Spanish, share and learn

North Carolina news organizations have ramped up coverage, tried new platforms, teamed up with new partners, and used grant funding for new projects to report for and about Spanish-speaking people on the COVID-19 crisis, which has hit Latinx people harder than other groups.

On Aug 5 from 9-11 a.m., the NC Local News Workshop will convene a knowledge-sharing session to learn what people are trying, what’s working, and where we see more needs and opportunities for serving NC’s Spanish-speaking consumers.

The bilingual session invites participants who are delivering content in Spanish, others who seek to build their service and audiences, and community members who see gaps or opportunities for improving the quality and access to information.

The Zoom event is free, but requires registration. Click this link to register: “What are we learning from covering COVID-19 for Spanish-speaking NC?” 

Registrants so far include established and startup Spanish-language outlets, such as La Noticia, Enlace Latino NC, and others, and journalists from Blue Ridge Public Radio, WFDD, The News & Observer/Herald-Sun, Carolina Public Press, and other outlets, along with conversation about gaps and how to build on what’s working. The session will be moderated by Vanessa Bravo, associate professor and chair of Elon Communications’ strategic communications department, and will include translation services.

The gathering is part of a new event series from the NC Local News Workshop, which launched in June at Elon’s School of Communications to act as a support base and resource center for local news in North Carolina. The series, called “What are we learning?” aims to help people facing common challenges and opportunities come together to trade notes, share knowledge, make connections, and highlight needs and opportunities.

Next up, Aug. 26, noon, via Zoom: “What are we learning from 2020’s big stories about public records and access?” The Workshop will team up with the NC Open Government Coalition, also based at Elon, for a session capturing lessons from public records challenges involving COVID-19 data, and considering issues related to coverage of protests and policing.

Email me (Melanie Sill) if you have questions or suggestions, and watch this space for upcoming programs.

Highlights from the first half of our summer internship

Elon grad @antonldelgado provided a great summation of our efforts so far on Twitter today:

So far this summer @NCNewsWorks reporters have written 10 stories, which have been picked up 21 times by 12 different newsrooms.

Here are some highlights:

From Marco Quiroz-Gutierrez:

Hispanic-owned businesses more at risk of permanent shutdown during pandemic

From Khaaliq Van-Otoo:

George Floyd’s death helps whites, immigrants find their voice in the Black Lives Matter movement

From Riley Davis:

Three North Carolina entrepreneurs are bringing shade back to the beach

From Anton Delgado:

From MLK to BLM: Religion continues to play a critical role in the civil rights movement

Our goal is to assist and supplement state newsrooms by providing high quality news coverage at no cost to news outlets, while providing interns with professional experience and training. If you would like to receive our content, contact Susan Ladd at sladd2@elon.edu.

We also need your feedback and suggestions to strengthen and improve the program. Let us know how we’re doing by contacting Susan Ladd or Melanie Sill, msill@elon.edu.

Intern Corps stories get quick pickup: Add your newsroom

By Melanie Sill, Executive Director, NC Local News Workshop

Over the past few days, the Workshop’s four NC Local News Intern Corps journalists started providing North Carolina residents and newsrooms with coverage in words, photos, video, and audio, picked up by a variety of news outlets across the state. Some examples:

  • Anton L. Delgado covered Black Lives Matter protests and Juneteenth celebrations in several cities, for  newsrooms including WPTF, WFAE, La Noticia and The News & Observer.
  • Khaaliq Van-Otoo looked at the experience and impact of immigrants and white people as participants in Black Lives Matter protests, a story picked up by outlets including WFAE and the Greensboro News & Record.
  • Riley Davis reported on state parks reopenings, as staff deal with a flood of visitors, fewer employees and challenges including the spread of invasive species, published by the News & Record and WFAE
  • Marco Quiroz-Gutierrez explored the story of the dual punch of the coronavirus crisis on Latinx workers, who are contracting COVID-19 at disproportionate rates and experiencing higher unemployment than whites, with his story and video published by La Noticia, the News & Record and EnlaceLatinoNC.

The Intern Corps is supervised by veteran editor and journalism adjunct professor Susan Ladd, who is sharing budgets and stories through Dropbox. Coverage is free to any news or community information organization in North Carolina.If you’d like to be added to the list, contact Susan at sladd2@elon.edu.

Learn more about the Intern Corps through this FAQ.

Julia Pimentel Gudiel
\ Julia Pimentel Gudiel helps cook tinga de pollo, a traditional Mexican dish at her friend, Elizabeth Cacho’s house. Photo by Marco Quiroz-Gutierrez