A Trump administration requires our journalistic “A-game.” Here is Outlier’s new standard.

This will be a President who makes up his own facts. Waiting on the other end of these communications is a sizable group of people eager to make these ideas their “favorite.”

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As a journalist it will take focus and discipline to work in this environment. The President-elect is a professional provocateur skilled at controlling narrative. It will be hard to find a place in this narrative for the kind of work I do as a journalist. I work to serve a low-income audience of color and hold government and businesses accountable to them. This kind of work had a hard time breaking through before Trump’s election. It seems even more difficult now.

I’ve decided to will myself to work at the top of my game-so I designed a framework to hold myself accountable. I offer it here in the interest of transparency and collaboration.

It is of course possible newsrooms and freelancers already have these kinds of frameworks. I would love to see them and learn from them. I’m not sure if the newsroom I used to work in had a framework like this. If they did, I certainly didn’t use it to organize or focus my work. We all have common guideposts like journalism ethics codes, but those are too squishy and opaque for me. I want more rigor. This is the framework Outlier will use to shape our work going forward.

Projects and pieces will serve one of three purposes:

  • filling information gaps in low-income or marginalized communities
  • holding institutions and government accountable to low-income or marginalized communities
  • serving information needs surfaced by low-income or marginalized communities

We first seek to serve an audience of:

  • low income news consumers
  • marginalized news consumers

We work in service of our audience and of the following fundamental principles:

  • accountability
  • transparency
  • democracy
  • human rights
  • civil rights

Only occasionally do we seek to serve an audience of:

  • decision-makers
  • other journalists
  • elected officials

We will do what we can to aid, support, and promote the work of other journalists doing quality work on issues important to a functioning democracy. 

We will work diligently and with focus every day.

I would love to learn from any other frameworks that can be helpful organizationally or as quality control. Send ideas to outliermedia@protonmail.com.

Author: sarahalvarez

Journalist and founder of Outlier Media.

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