'Low-income audiences won't pay for news'? 
Sarah Alvarez isn't so sure

Three identical portraits of President Ulysses S. Grant over the banner "grants, fellowships and awards"Public media should look like America.

That's one of the core values that underpins AIR's programs -- and in pursuit of an inclusive media system, our New Voices scholarships bring a class of fresh, gifted, intriguing talent to the industry every year. 

Sarah Alvarez (New Voices 2014) went on to a 2015-'16 John S. Knight fellowship at Stanford University and created Outlier Media, which focuses on consumer finance journalism for low-income communities. In an interview with the American Press Institute this week, Sarah challenges audience-supported newsrooms to think twice about their assumptions.

API: How can news organizations thrive if their targeted consumer audience can’t pay for content?

Sarah Alvarez: I don’t think it’s that  [low-income communities] can’t and that they won’t [pay for content]. Why would you pay for a product that is no good? News consistently misses that audience. They are delivering news for someone else, so why would anybody pay for that? I wouldn’t. But if someone is delivering information to me that is truly valuable to me, why wouldn’t I pay for that? News organizations tend to consistently discount the value of low-income consumers and the potential in that market from business and human perspective. I think it’s easier for news organizations to say, “This must be true. Low income consumers must not pay,” when really it’s about your content ... [READ MORE]

• Applications for the 2016 New Voices scholarships open Aug. 1. Sign up for notifications.

Five gigs to grab

Meryl Streep as Julia Child and Stanley Tucci as her husband, Paul, are eating in a restaurant. Paul asks, "What do you really like to do?" "Eat," she replies.1. Sure, you produce radio, but how are your quarter-inch seams? The Modern Quilt Guild podcast seeks a part-time producer. (AIRdaily; login required)

2. Must love: Ruby on Rails, investigating the state of criminal justice in America, getting caught in the rain. (The Marshall Project)

3. Your creative spark cannot be confined to a single medium. Related news: NPR's local station continues its hiring spree in D.C. (WAMU)

4. Seven U.S. presidents were born in Ohio, so "managing producer for arts and culture" could be a great job for expectant parents? (ideastream; no promises)

5. Go West, young person.* Santa Fe Public Radio is hunting for a news director. (KSFR)

* Unless you're in California.

#FindingAmerica Story of the Week: 
Three ways of looking at race in the South

Debby Bussel and Roberto Nava examine an audio recorder at Storymakers training, March 2016 | Video still by Ian McClerinThe realities of race, class and immigration hit home for storytellers participating in the Storymakers: Durham project in our Finding America story of the week.
Storymakers worked with 15 locals, taught them how to create audio stories, and is airing the results on WUNC and on the podcast Scene on Radio.
Jamila Davenport explores gentrification, Roberto Nava illuminates life as an immigrant and a mechanic, and Debby Bussel describes the day she realized the privilege she has as a 54-year-old white woman. 


Storymakers and WUNC work with 15 storymakers—people who live in one of the South’s most diverse and fast-growing cities — to explore divisions of race, class, and opportunity through a new public media platform created in partnership with SpiritHouse Inc., and Duke’s Center for Documentary Studies. The project is led by independent producer John Biewen.

Experience the Finding America collaborative documentary at FindingAmerica.AIRmedia.org.

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