The Community Reporting Alliance was founded in 2010 as the transition to the digital delivery of news gradually caused the demise of many newspapers. When local news coverage disappears, communities suffer, losing the narratives that tie them together and make them stronger, as well as a check on their government. CRA aims to jump start and support local news coverage in "news desert" communities.
In 2011, deep in the heart of a small rural town in the foothills of the Catskill Mountains in New York, the local newspaper had shut down and the high school newspaper had fallen to budget cuts. Why not start a newspaper led by kids, run from the local library? That was the question asked by a local journalist, a library director, some parents and the students who teamed up to start Manor Ink in Livingston Manor, N.Y.
And so our model was born.
Our reporting alliance allows students to cover local news and produce a newspaper independent from school oversight. More important, ours is a replicable model. CRA seeks to help preserve or restore local news in places where it is gone or endangered, particularly where residents are stepping up to fill the gap themselves. We teach our guidelines, help train the young journalists and provide seed money. In so doing, we fulfill our mission to nurture local news, inspiring a new generation of journalists along the way.