Local New Blues Updates: Medill Map Morphs, Press Forward Responds, AP Busts In

Catch up with your coffee.

Local New Blues Updates: Medill Map Morphs, Press Forward Responds, AP Busts In
Photo by Dylan Lees Photography for Local News Blues

By Alice Dreger

Thanks in part to a strong signal boost from Editor & Publisher, the pace of corrections on the Medill Local News map has picked up considerably. We appreciate all of you who have been cc’ing and bcc’ing us on your correction requests. We’re seeing corrections from parts of the country that haven’t reported in previously, and it's useful to know where the map needs fixing.

The conversation about the map is also picking up steam. Check out the blog from Dan Kennedy, and don’t miss the responses. (By the way, don’t forget you can also comment for free on any Local News Blues post through our website.)

Yesterday, Press Forward’s PR rep got in touch with us to respond to Sunday’s post, which we had held for a week awaiting a comment from Press Forward.

In her response, Marika Lynch of MLC Social Impact Communications acknowledged that Press Forward changed the open-call grant deadline from Pacific to Eastern time, a move that left some publishers in the lurch. Lynch attributed the problem to “a technical issue on the application platform.”

A couple of days after publishers complained and Local News Blues contacted Press Forward Director Dale Anglin for comment on the matter, Press Forward  “opened up our application portal to them for a brief period so that they could ultimately submit an application.”  

As to the question of who got the grant rubric, Lynch says, “In an effort to be transparent, we shared the evaluation rubric. We included it in two email blasts, posts on social media, the open call homepage, and the program guidelines.”

Yet multiple publishers on the lists tell us they never saw it. And Press Forward didn’t tell the coaches to share the rubric with their clients, according to Lynch:

“We provided them with guidance in general about how to approach coaching calls. We didn't specifically instruct them to use the rubric in their conversations.”

Lynch adds that, “according to Google Analytics, close to 1,000 people viewed it 1,700 times on our site.”

She declined to answer our question about how many applications were received.

Lynch also sent a correction on our post, which had said (based on prior comments from Press Forward staff) that we shouldn’t expect more general open-call grants in the future”

“The topics and eligibility requirements haven’t been decided for our future open calls. Right now, we only have one topic – on local news transformation – for the fall open call. We haven’t yet announced what types of local news initiatives will be eligible. We also intend to apply learnings over the years to future open calls.”

Finally, a potentially ominous report from Axios: “AP launching nonprofit group to raise at least $100M for local news.” Read it here. Pitch your response here.

Alice Dreger is a journalist, historian, and the publisher of Local News Blues. She founded East Lansing Info, a nonprofit digital investigative news service, and ran the operation for about ten years. Read more at the Local News Blues contributors page.