Dorrine Mendoza recently joined LMA to serve as lead program director of the new Family and Independent Media Sustainability Lab. Before starting this work, Mendoza played a key role with the news partnerships team at Meta and Facebook, leading and designing local news grant programs. Here she shares her thoughts about what she hopes to accomplish with the lab and at LMA.

Can you share a bit about your background and your journey toward working with local news outlets?


My passion for local journalism was ignited while growing up in Northern Arizona. I saw how local news kept our community informed. I studied journalism at Northern Arizona University, and later worked in various roles in the media industry. Over the years, I’ve developed a deep understanding and appreciation of the unique challenges and opportunities facing local and independent news outlets. I am excited to bring my skills and experiences to this new role.

What does it mean to you to help local news outlets become sustainable?

To me, helping local news outlets become sustainable means making sure they can create the conditions needed to thrive in the long term. It means enabling them to produce quality journalism, serve their communities, and maintain their financial viability, while staying true to their independent spirit. Sustainability is about building resilience, fostering innovation, and creating value for both the news outlets and their audiences.

What are the core components of the program you’ll be running?

The FIMS Lab curriculum is still being developed but the core components will include strategic business planning, optimizing technology and – the one I’m most excited about – rethinking of local media as both a product and a service. They’ll have access to everything we’ve learned about branded content, journalism funded by philanthropy, sales and collaborations. Participants will meet regularly with experts and receive coaching to help them understand the evolving media landscape, improve skills, and adopt new technologies. We will offer resources, such as toolkits and templates, to assist in areas like business transformation, revenue generation, and digital transformation. Finally, we’ll work to foster partnerships between outlets and other local stakeholders, from local businesses to civic institutions, to build networks of support and collaboration.

What are some of the challenges you anticipate facing in this role, and how do you plan to overcome them?

One of the major challenges I anticipate is the diversity of needs among local news outlets. What works for one might not work for another. To overcome this, we’ll ensure our program is flexible and adaptive, taking into account the unique context of each outlet. We’ll also actively seek feedback and input from participants to ensure our program meets their needs and we’ll set ambitious KPIs to measure our success.

What can LMA members do to support your work and the sustainability of local news outlets?

Members can support our work by staying engaged, continuing to participate in our programs, sharing their experiences and ideas, and advocating for local news in their own communities. Sustainability is a collective effort, and everyone has a role to play.

This post was created by a human with ideas generated by ChatGPT.