Community Reporting Alliance
Manor Ink, CRA's very first youth-led newspaper, covers Livingston Manor in Sullivan County, a small town on the edge of the Catskills Mountains. It started publishing out of the Livingston Manor Free Library in 2012, at a time the area, with about 1,200 residents, had no community or school newspaper. The young staff has covered high school graduations, fires and devastating floods, and in the process reinforced the role local news plays as “the glue” of a community. In 2013, Manor Ink won the Sullivan County Nonprofit Innovation Award, given to organizations that “innovate in ways that produce demonstrable results and benefit the community at large.” Manor Ink has cemented its position as a leader in news and youth involvement and has served as the model for similar newspapers in the growing CRA family.
Coal Cracker serves Pennsylvania's Anthracite Coal Region, an area where neighborhood blight and opioid abuse are particular challenges. Coal Cracker, which publishes four times a year, has covered these and other issues, empowering young journalists to delve into their sense of place and contribute to their community as they gain employment skills. The Coal Cracker staff works out of the newspaper's own building, the former Mahanoy City Lumber and Supply Company, but maintains its relationship with the Mahanoy City Public Library, where the editorial team was launched in 2014.
The Ferguson Phoenix published for the first time in 2015, in the aftermath of the fatal police shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown Jr. in Ferguson, Missouri. The Ferguson Municipal Public Library became a safe, neutral space for residents during the protests and turmoil that followed the shooting. It also saw, as part of its mission to be more responsive to the community, the need to host the Ferguson Phoenix, giving young people the opportunity to tell the stories of their community in their own voice.
The Ditmas Examiner focuses on local news at a time some of the big New York City dailies are shrinking and even digital news outlets have disappeared. Operating out of the Brooklyn Public Library in the Ditmas Park area of central Brooklyn, the newspaper recruits its staff by asking: What issues do you care about? Who needs to hear your voice? Do you want to help make your neighborhood a better place? In only five years, the median income of Ditmas Park neighbors jumped 47 percent. That is the kind of story the young reporters at the Ditmas Examiner, launched in the summer of 2016, are eager to tackle, covering what rapid gentrification means to a well-established community.