Our Mission- To amplify the voices of our local Latino communities

Thank you

Thank you for all the support and donations since the launch of our Latino Communities Reporting Lab.

Because of your contributions, we’ve been able to expand our coverage of the local Latino communities, which includes hiring two bilingual reporters devoted to furthering the mission of the Latino Communities Reporting Lab.

Your continued support will enable us to tell more stories about Latinos who contribute to our communities every day.

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What we’ve done and what’s next:

Since March we’ve told more than 120 stories that were the result of more than 80 conversations with members of the community as part of a listening tour in an effort to bring you coverage that matters to you.

Now we’d like to build upon the foundation that we’ve established together. Next steps include:

  • Additional bilingual staff devoted to Latino communities coverage
  • More spanish language multimedia content
  • Monthly Community Advisory Board meetings to expand engagement with Latino communities
  • New partnerships with Latino media outlets, organizations and businesses
 
 

How you can help:


These efforts rely on your continued support. You can help our Latino communities coverage by donating through our Give Butter campaign using any of the donate buttons on this page.

Give Butter is our chosen donation coordinator and our campaign page can be found here.

Your donation goes directly to telling more stories involving Latino communities. We’re thrilled by the support we’ve received so far and are excited about expanding our efforts in the years to come.

Want to learn more about the lab? Take a look at our Q&A below.

About the Latino Communities Reporting Lab

 

Our Mission Statement:

Mission: To amplify the voices of our local Latino communities.

  • To provide empowering, fact-based news, information and resources for our Latino Communities.
  • To shine a light on injustices and inequities to promote greater understanding and a more inclusive community for everyone.
  • To showcase the successes and contributions of Latinos as a way of inspiring young people to expand what they consider possible.

Plan: Build a new team of 5 bilingual journalists, including 3 reporters, one photographer/videographer and one editor, representative of our Latino communities, to fulfill this mission. The Record-Journal recently invested in the first position for the Lab when our new bilingual reporter joined us in February 2021.

Format: Our storytelling will be multi-platform to meet people where they are and we will prioritize based on feedback from our community listening. Platforms may include print, digital, video, email newsletters, social media and text messaging. It will evolve as we build it. We also plan to have content in both English and Spanish, starting with English at launch and translating some content, then evolving into more Spanish as we build the Lab and expand our resources.

Engagement: Engagement will be ongoing. We will continue to host listening conversations with stakeholders as we build the lab, surface questions and concerns from the public through our Voices ~ Community Powered Journalism platform, host direct engagement events in the community, conduct surveys, and build partnerships with the school system and community agencies to engage youth.


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Why are we creating the Latino Communities Reporting Lab?

 

As a 154-year-old family-owned company, we feel this is an essential part of continuing our mission in our local community where Latinos represent 29.1% of Meriden’s total population, including 58.2% of Meriden students, and 8% of Wallingford’s total population, including 19.6% of Wallingford students.

 

Our Community Listening Tour

During our listening tour over 5 months leading up to launch, which included 82 conversations, 4 focus groups and received 51 survey responses, we spoke to community stakeholders, including educators, non-profit leaders, community members, chambers of commerce, community leaders, business owners & business people, church leaders & members, community members, politicians & government officials and foundations.

What we heard:

  • There are so many success stories of local Latinos to be highlighted.
  • Partner with the schools, amplify youth voices and engage with parents to provide information and resources that they need.
  • Communicate the positive things happening in schools, but not shy away from sharing difficult challenges, such as the achievement gap.
  • Latinos face inequities in all areas, from education to health to business and to shine a light on those inequities.
  • Information is often inaccessible or is not available in Spanish, making navigating everyday life much more difficult.
  • Do not treat the Latino community as a monolith, but rather to share the rich culture, traditions, customs and events from their various home countries.
  • Build a team of journalists who are representative of the Latino community and are bilingual, so more trust can be built.

 

We have named our Lab with input from our local Latino stakeholders, including the name Latino Communities Reporting Lab and its Spanish translation Reportajes de la Comunidad Latina. Our stakeholders also participated in a brainstorming process with our Creative Team to design and select the logo. As our Latino Communities Reporting Lab evolves and grows, we will get more input from our local Latino communities to create a brand for this new product as we build it.


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Why are we raising funds?

 

We hope to demonstrate that with community support, legacy news organizations can continue to provide local specialized, fact-based, high-impact reporting that informs and empowers our community that might otherwise be sacrificed because of a challenging business environment.

We’re passionate about trusted, local news.

 

But the business model for journalism has changed dramatically over the last decade, and even more so over the last year during the pandemic, severely impacting the industry.

 

Between 2004 and 2018 more than 900 communities nationwide lost their sources of local news, creating “news deserts,” according to Poynter.org

The cost of producing trusted journalism continues to rise. We have a newsroom of 28 people, part of our company of 67 total team members, that is committed to providing quality local journalism and fact-based reporting that informs and empowers our community.

We are pursuing funding only for projects that already fit and expand on what we consider our core coverage mission. New initiatives require new funding strategies.

For us, change fuels innovation. Our company proudly accepted the nationwide honor this month from Editor & Publisher Magazine as One of 10 News Publishers That Do It Right. In recent years, we have evolved and transformed our business and built new strategic pillars, and that’s why we jumped at the opportunity in September 2020 that the Local Media Association, a national industry association, launched called the Lab for Journalism Funding, led by faculty from The Seattle Times. We were selected as one of only 16 media companies to participate nationwide to innovate and help build the model for the industry.

Philanthropic funding for journalism, our newest strategic pillar, can take the form of support from foundations, corporations, philanthropists or individual community donations. Our longer term goal is to fund a third of our newsroom through philanthropic funding - all while maintaining editorial independence and objectivity in our reporting. Donor transparency will also be a key element of our approach.

This model is gaining traction across the country, including at The Seattle Times, where 19 journalists have been funded by philanthropy over the last 8 years. Other successful models have formed in newsrooms in Fresno, Dallas, Boston and Miami.

We are pleased to announce that we have partnered locally with the Meriden-Wallingford Community Foundation, a Section 501(c)3 organization, as our fiscal sponsor to accept tax-deductible donations. We truly appreciate their overwhelming support.

Other types of support will come in the form of more traditional sponsorships or advertising from businesses.


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Record-Journal's History of Impact

 

We’re proud that our work has long spoken for itself with recent recognition including:

  • 2020 Top 10 News Publishers That Do It Right, Editor & Publisher Magazine
  • 2017 Best Local Website, 1st Place, Local Media Association
  • 2015 Top 10 Newspapers That Do It Right, Editor & Publisher Magazine
  • 2012 Sunday Newspaper of the Year, New England Newspaper & Press Association
  • 2012 Publick Occurrences Award for Outstanding Journalism, New England Newspaper Association


 

As a news organization, one of the ways we distinguish ourselves is through persistent, substantive local reporting informed by listening to and engaging with audiences. Our goal is to provide meaningful, responsive content and to meet audiences where they are, which means better understanding their needs and how they consume information.

We've successfully applied this audience-centered model in our daily and in-depth coverage of the issues that matter to local readers, as we continue to hold local governments and institutions accountable.

Specific examples of news content over the last year include ongoing daily and in-depth coverage of the coronavirus pandemic, which continues to demonstrate the critical importance of reliable information on a community level.

This past year's election coverage included flipping the script through a Citizens’ Agenda model in which we put the questions and concerns of readers front and center, holding politicians more accountable on the issues that matter to residents.

And our education coverage in the past year included an in-depth series on the challenges autistic students and families face as they compete for limited resources on the state and community level. A separate multi-part series looked closely at the status of our local schools amid the pandemic with a particular focus on student and family impact.

As a content provider, we’re uniquely positioned to increase local Latino communities’ access to the fact-based news, information and resources they need.

 
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FAQ

 

This document addresses questions that may emerge about the project and its funding.

Q. What is the mission of the Latino Communities Reporting Lab?

Mission: To amplify the voices of our local Latino communities To provide empowering, fact-based news, information and resources for our Latino Communities. To shine a light on injustices and inequities to promote greater understanding and a more inclusive community for everyone. To showcase the successes and contributions of Latinos as a way of inspiring young people to expand what they consider possible.

Q. Why has the Record-Journal sought philanthropic funding for journalism?

A. The business model for journalism has changed dramatically over the last decade, and even more so over the last year during the pandemic, severely impacting the industry. But the cost of producing trusted journalism continues to rise. We have a newsroom of 28 people, part of our company of 67 total team members, that is committed to providing quality local journalism and fact-based reporting that informs and empowers our community. As a 154-year-old, family-owned media company that is passionate about trusted, local news, our goal is to continue to remain independently owned with a sustainable business model for the future. Local journalism historically serves important functions that allow residents to learn more about their communities as well as hold local officials and institutions accountable. The Record-Journal is pursuing funding to support public-service reporting projects. We are pursuing funding only for projects that already fit and expand on what we consider our core coverage mission. New initiatives require new funding strategies. To ensure a sustainable future, the Record-Journal joins many other organizations across the industry exploring different sources of funding. Advertising and print circulation revenue declines along with decades of news consumers getting content free online requires a change to the traditional newspaper business model to diversify the pillars of funding. Philanthropic funding represents a new way for the Record-Journal to expand local journalism coverage at a time when we’re seeing our largest audiences ever, to build partnerships in the community and to fill gaps in coverage needed to serve our core mission: to be the primary catalyst that motivates people to contribute to the intellectual, civic and economic vitality of our communities.

Q. Do other news organizations seek and accept foundation and community funding?

A. Yes, this model is starting to gain traction across the country, including at The Seattle Times, where 19 journalists have been funded by philanthropy over the last 8 years. Other successful models have formed in newsrooms in Fresno, Dallas, Boston and Miami. In recent years, foundations have also supported work done at the Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, The Guardian and NBC News, among others. Community donation campaigns for journalism are also gaining momentum across the country, including more than 200 campaigns that local media companies nationwide ran in 2020 and 2021 with the Local Media Association as their fiscal sponsor to accept tax-deductible donations. In Connecticut, the Record-Journal and The New London Day participated in the COVID-19 Local News Fund campaign in 2020, raising significant funding from their local communities.

Q. Do the foundations have any control over what is reported?

A. The Record-Journal would neither seek nor accept a grant that did not give us full editorial control over what is published. Generally, when a grant is made, there is agreement on a specific project or a broad area of reporting it will support. The foundation would have no role in deciding which stories we choose to pursue or how we report those stories. Foundations also do not review stories before publication. Editorial Independence Policy Maintain a firewall between news coverage decisions and sources of all revenue. Acceptance of financial support does not constitute implied or actual endorsement of donors or their products, services, or opinions. Make news judgments independently and not on the basis of donor support. Carefully consider accepting support for the coverage of particular issues or topics while maintaining editorial control of the coverage; the grantee will not cede review or influence of editorial content, nor of unauthorized distribution of editorial content. Disclose any relationships with donors if they are mentioned in or become part of an editorial story. Agree to make public all donors who give a total of $1,000 or more per year. A current list of donor names, including but not limited to individuals, sponsors, and grantors, will be published on the project website for all donations. Agree not to accept anonymous donations or donations from government entities, political parties, elected officials, or candidates actively seeking public office. Agree not to accept donations from sources who present a conflict of interest or compromise the independence of the project.

Q. Does the Record-Journal have outside funding for other projects?

A. During the beginning of the pandemic, we provided our COVID-19 news coverage for free as a public service to the community, but asked the community to support our journalism through subscriptions and donations, in partnership with the Local Media Association as our fiscal sponsor to accept tax-deductible contributions, to help as we covered the emerging coronavirus crisis on a local level. Through this COVID-19 Local News Fund, the response was overwhelmingly positive from our local community and we raised $20,656 from 282 people. To view the comments on our donation page, click here: https://givebutter.com/record-journal. We also received grants from the Facebook Journalism Project and the Google News Initiative in 2020 to help further our pandemic news coverage and provide outreach opportunities for local non-profits. For the work we did through these grant projects, our company proudly accepted the nationwide honor in March 2021 from Editor & Publisher Magazine as One of 10 News Publishers That Do It Right.

Q. Are there any foundations you would not accept funding from?

A. We do not have a list of foundations with which we would not work. Instead, we analyze each opportunity on its merits, probing for potential conflicts and determining whether the opportunity fits our journalistic mission. When we accept funding, we pledge to be transparent with readers about the source of the money and promise always to value the trust readers place in us above any outside financing opportunities. Our policies are as follows: ● We would not accept funding from a foundation that would want any kind of editorial input or control on what we report. ● We would not accept funding for an area of coverage that we believe is not a good fit for our readers. ● We would not accept funding from a foundation that was affiliated with a political party or that was philosophically aligned with a partisan political agenda.

Q. Will there be transparency in who is donating?

A. Donor Transparency Policy We are committed to transparency in every aspect of funding our organization. All donors to the Latino Communities Reporting Lab acknowledge the following: Accepting financial support does not mean that Record-Journal or the projects within the Latino Communities Reporting Lab endorse donors or their products, services, or opinions. The Latino Communities Reporting Lab will accept gifts, grants, and sponsorships from individuals, organizations, and foundations to help with general operations, coverage of specific topics, and special projects. News judgments are made independently – not based on or influenced by donors. We do not give supporters the rights to assign, review, edit, or distribute content. The Record-Journal will make public all donors who give $1,000 or more per year. The Record-Journal will not accept donations from anonymous sources, government entities, political parties, elected officials, or candidates actively seeking public office into this fund. The Record-Journal will not accept donations from sources who present a conflict of interest or compromise the independence of the project.

Q. Why is it called a Lab and why did we name it Latino Communities Reporting Lab?

A. News organizations and their communities are in the infancy of exploring this model for supporting journalism. One of the first, The Seattle Times Education Lab, got started in late 2013. While that effort has been successful, it’s still the starting line in many communities, including Meriden. We have named our Lab with input from our local Latino stakeholders, including the name Latino Communities Reporting Lab and its Spanish translation Reportajes de la Comunidad Latina. As our Latino Communities Reporting Lab evolves and grows, we will get more input from our local Latino communities to create a brand for this new product as we build it.

Q. How can I contribute?

A. You can make a tax-deductible donation directly to the Record-Journal’s Latino Communities Reporting Fund, administered by the non-profit Meriden-Wallingford Community Foundation. To contribute, you can donate below, or go to our full donation page at https://givebutter.com/LatinoReportingLab or you can send a check to the Meriden-Wallingford Community Foundation c/o Liberty Bank, 909 North Colony Rd Wallingford CT 06492, and write “Record-Journal Latino Communities Reporting Lab” in the subject line.


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Donor Transparency Policy

 

We are committed to transparency in every aspect of funding our organization. All donors to the Latino Communities Reporting Lab acknowledge the following: Accepting financial support does not mean that Record-Journal or the projects within the Latino Communities Reporting Lab endorse donors or their products, services, or opinions. The Latino Communities Reporting Lab will accept gifts, grants, and sponsorships from individuals, organizations, and foundations to help with general operations, coverage of specific topics, and special projects.

News judgments are made independently – not based on or influenced by donors. We do not give supporters the rights to assign, review, edit, or distribute content. The Record-Journal will make public all donors who give $1,000 or more per year. The Record-Journal will not accept donations from anonymous sources, government entities, political parties, elected officials, or candidates actively seeking public office into this fund. The Record-Journal will not accept donations from sources who present a conflict of interest or compromise the independence of the project.

The Record-Journal maintains full editorial control over the stories and other content paid for through funding for the Latino Communities Reporting Lab. Funders do not have special access to the newsroom or input into what stories are pursued.

Donors are not informed about the reporting process, nor are they allowed to review content prior to publication.

The Latino Communities Reporting Lab is a fund of the Meriden-Wallingford Community Foundation, a Section 501(c)(3) organization. Meriden-Wallingford Community Foundation has exclusive legal control over all funds received. Accordingly, contributions to the Fund are treated for tax purposes as gifts to a Section 501(c)(3) public charity and are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law.

Editorial Independence Policy

  • Maintain a firewall between news coverage decisions and sources of all revenue. Acceptance of financial support does not constitute implied or actual endorsement of donors or their products, services, or opinions.
  • Make news judgments independently and not on the basis of donor support.
  • Carefully consider accepting support for the coverage of particular issues or topics while maintaining editorial control of the coverage; the grantee will not cede review or influence of editorial content, nor of unauthorized distribution of editorial content.
  • Disclose any relationships with donors if they are mentioned in or become part of an editorial story.
  • Agree to make public all donors who give a total of $1,000 or more per year. A current list of donor names, including but not limited to individuals, sponsors, and grantors, will be published on the project website for all donations.
  • Agree not to accept anonymous donations or donations from government entities, political parties, elected officials, or candidates actively seeking public office.
  • Agree not to accept donations from sources who present a conflict of interest or compromise the independence of the project.

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voices community powered journalism logo  

 

What issues matter to you?

 

The Record-Journal strives to cover stories our readers care about.

Our new community powered journalism project makes it easier for you to tell us what you want to know about the people, places and issues in our community.

So what questions do you have for us? Each month or so we'll have a featured topic for questions. This month we want to know- Do you have a question or concern about racial equity or discrimination in our community?

Or you can ask any question you want to see covered by our newsroom.

You have questions. We want to answer them. That's what Voices is all about.

Visit our Voices page here.


Other Questions?