Swelter in place

Check out the full NC Local newsletter from June 15 for more from the Workshop, including industry news, job postings and shout-outs to journalists statewideSign up to get NC Local in your inbox every Wednesday.

By Eric Frederick, NC Local Newsletter Editor

With the possible exception of your investment portfolio (especially if you built it on the financial acumen of Matt Damon), everything this week is core-meltdown hot.

Let’s see if we can find some relief in a few cool things I’ve come across …

Dive into something deep

You’ll remember the Security for Sale series, a deep report by the McClatchy newsrooms in May on how corporate landlords were buying up single-family rental properties in North Carolina, to the detriment of renters.

Now the reporters behind that series and the Pulitzer Center, which helped fund the work, are sharing a toolkit that can help others investigate corporate rental ownership in their communities. They’ve included tutorials and are offering to help other reporters as they use the tools. 

News & Observer investigative reporter Tyler Dukes, who led the effort, told me that for media in our state, “probably the best use would be to pull our North Carolina data and look for local stories. Which neighborhoods are seeing particularly active corporate buyers? How is that impacting renting and buying?

“We really focused on markets like Raleigh and Charlotte (in the series), but these companies are doing lots of buying in outlying suburbs, too.”

A great resource. Check it out, and contact Dukes if you need help.

Think about this fall

U.S. Democracy Day, scheduled for Sept. 15, is a collaborative nationwide project to flood the zone with fresh reporting on threats to our country’s democratic process. The coordinating team is recruiting news organizations to participate. Find out here how to join, and get more information.

There’s also a video in which Rachel Glickhouse of News Revenue Hub talks more about the project, which she initiated along with Jennifer Brandel at Hearken, Election SOS and Democracy SOS; Stefanie Murray at the Center for Cooperative Media; and Bridget Thoreson at INN.

    ➵ Protect Democracy’s new guide for reporters covering threats to democratic rule.

    ➵ American Democracy is Under Threat — and Newsrooms Are Mobilizing to Cover It. Celeste Katz Marston, Nieman Reports.

Help someone beat the heat

It may go without saying, but extreme heat can be deadly, especially for those most at risk — the elderly, the poor, people experiencing homelessness. Information, as always, can make the difference. I like what Jalon Hill did for QCity Metro this week, in this report on how vulnerable residents of Charlotte can get potentially lifesaving relief.

Think about … winter?

And remember, while you’re at it, that a toboggan is a hat, not a sled. In these parts, anyway. (Spare me the fact checks, please.)

That toe-boggan reminder is from the Triangle Expert Guide, a free series of seven newsletters produced by The N&O and The Herald-Sun with the idea of persuading newcomers to subscribe to those news sites but also entertaining longtime residents, service journalism editor Brooke Cain told me in an email exchange. 

“We had some previously produced stories (mostly food stories by Drew Jackson and a slate of “critter” stories covering everything from coyotes to copperheads) that worked well for the newsletters, but Korie Dean and Kimberly Cataudella built a bunch more evergreen stories from scratch: guides to NC’s mountains and beaches, a guide to the hidden wonders of the local library systems, a guide to how to make friends when you move to a new area, a guide to finding the right place of worship in your community, a guide to preparing for (and surviving) ice storms and hurricanes, guides to parks, museums, playgrounds, farmers markets, LGBTQ-friendly bars and much more,” Cain said.

“We wanted to provide people with useful, practical information in the emails, but then provide links with more info.”

Cain wrote the newsletters, with McClatchy’s Editorial Experimentation team advising on tone and topics and putting finishing touches on the design. The seven installments have been turned into three print cover packages. 

“We just launched the email newsletter last week, and so far it’s doing well,” Cain said. “Everyone gets the same seven emails in the same order, no matter when they sign up.”

 You can do that, and learn more about the project, here

Show us you’re a fan of newspapers

Print? It’s far from dead. And a good newspaper can sure whip things up. So, somewhere between the reading and the recycling, your ink-stained supporters can find some heat remission by turning their newspaper into a hand-held air conditioner. Here’s how.

    ➵ On a related down note (sorry): Soaring newsprint prices worsen local journalism crisis. Brier Dudley, Seattle Times.

My forecast says it might stay below 90 on Sunday.

Until then: Let’s be careful out there.

NC Local News Workshop