The Lenfest Institute for Journalism is a nonprofit that aims to sustain local news organizations throughout the country. Now, it is creating the Lenfest Local Lab in an effort to experiment with different news and information products and technology.
The Local Lab will have a team of developers, designers, data analysts and reporters to create new digital products for news consumers. The goal is to help community members learn more about their communities, be able to connect with journalists and connect with their neighbors. One of the projects the team is working on aims to encourage civic action in communities by making neighborhood meetings more accessible to the public through journalism. The team also wants to test the most effective methods of delivering content to readers and inform local news businesses of their findings.
“It’s a critical time for newsrooms and publishers to be evolving, innovating and trying new things to reach existing as well as new audiences," Sarah Schmalbach, who will lead the lab, says. "Our lab will be a test bed for local news products that empower people and leverage technology and design to more closely and actively build journalism’s value to local communities."