Launched in June 2019 after a successful public forum on the crisis in journalism in Somerville the previous February, the Somerville News Garden is a grassroots effort to attempt to stop Somerville, MA, USA from turning into what media academics are calling a “news desert”—a municipality that no longer has professionally-produced news outlets. It is sponsored by the Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism in partnership with the Somerville Media Center.
SNG has two remaining projects:
1) a Research Group that conducts surveys, interviews, and focus groups with Somervillians to learn about their news habits and preferences, and tailor the News Garden to meet these needs;
2) a Neighborhood Media School that trains Somerville-area residents in the fundamentals of reporting, news analysis, and multimedia production (e.g., photography, video, data visualization);
In January 2022, SNG spun off the Somerville Media Fund—an independent IRS 501(c)(3) foundation that helps provide professionally produced journalism covering important issues of the day in Somerville, Massachusetts in the public interest and also seeks to educate Somerville residents about the importance of journalism and media literacy to our democracy on an ongoing basis;
In February 2023, SNG spun off the Somerville Wire that, a news service run by professional journalists with contributions from area residents that covers Somerville and syndicates its articles to interested independent news outlets and the public at large.
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