The Christian Science Monitor

As local news outlets struggle to survive, citizen-led efforts are stepping up

At right, Alice Dreger, founder of the citizen journalism initiative East Lansing Info, hosts her summer government reporting team for an evening strategizing meeting on her porch on June 12, 2018, in East Lansing, Michigan. Source: Christa Case Bryant /The Christian Science Monitor

It doesn’t exactly sound like a crack investigative team: a former scholar of sexuality with a background in mortgage brokering; a mild-manned Buddhist with a law degree; a concerned citizen who’s an expert on foraging and cooking weeds; a mother who woke up the day after President Trump’s election and decided she needed to learn about government; a college journalism student home for the summer; and an enterprising high schooler who is into drone ordinances.

But they are all part of East Lansing Info (ELi), a citizen-journalist initiative with a budget of just $70,000 a year that has become a surprisingly influential force in this city of 50,000.

“If you had a professional army doing what we’re doing, it’s a $1 million operation,” says founder Alice Dreger, who calls their shoestring operation a “news militia.”

ELi is one of a growing number of nonprofit news initiatives that have sprung up

Accountability to the communityA Democratic city against tax hikes

Sie lesen eine Vorschau. Registrieren Sie sich, um mehr zu lesen.

Mehr von The Christian Science Monitor

The Christian Science Monitor4 min gelesenGender Studies
Points Of Progress: Norway Updates Hate Speech Laws, And More
In good news this week: Norway’s parliament approved new legal protections for transgender and bisexual people – plus more positive headlines.
The Christian Science Monitor11 min gelesen
A Thanksgiving Like No Other: Finding Uplift In A Dark Year
In the 1980s, Andrew Oram, fresh from college, won a small fellowship enabling him to build his own bicycle and then pedal it across Europe. He carried a camera; he took pictures. Until one day when he found himself along the rolling coast of what wa
The Christian Science Monitor5 min gelesen
No Bookstores Or Haircuts? Europeans Question Pandemic Edicts.
In the second wave of the pandemic, rules to keep consumers at home are evolving. Small businesses worry they’ll be permanently shortchanged.