Information about East Lansing Info

Here are some useful links related to East Lansing Info:

My op-ed for The Guardian on the importance of nonpartisan local news

The Membership Puzzle Project’s report on audience-engagement local news

“About” East Lansing Info

ELi’s 501c3 IRS application

Tools for our citizen-reporters

How does FOIA work? (explanation for ELi readers)

“Your ELi” columns (explaining our work to our readers)

Some insights from doing this for four years:

  1. You have to teach people what journalism is and why nonpartisan news is valuable.
  2. The #1 trait you need in a citizen reporter is the ability to write a story clearly.
  3. Team work helps correct for bias, especially if you purposefully diversify the team.
  4. Explain tough reporting decisions to your readers. (We do “Your ELi” columns.)
  5. Absorb your critics: ask them to report; put them on your Community Advisory Board.
  6. It takes years to build up community trust and one stupid move to destroy it.
  7. Don’t push people past their limits. Let them play to their strengths.
  8. Teenagers make natural investigative reporters.
  9. Always be FOIAing (using the Freedom of Information Act).
  10. Take your time; always value quality over quantity. (Breaks are okay!)

Please note: The publication date on this post shows the date it was recreated at my new site, not the original date of publication.