2019 Grants Challenge

LA2050 Storytelling Hub

Idea by CALmatters

LA2050 fuels the most exciting ideas for the future. We'll build a hub for three kinds of stories about LA2050 projects: Policy analysis of issues and solutions tied to each initiative, stories from initiative leaders about what's being done on the ground, and (the best part!) first-person storytelling (audio, video, VR, text) by the people the programs serve. We’ll do this in multiple languages, collect it in the LA2050 Storytelling Hub and share it with dozens of partner news organizations.


Please list the organizations collaborating on this proposal.

La Opinion, plus we will engage journalism professors and students who are skilled with the latest video and audio tools from one or more local journalism schools.

Briefly tell us a story that demonstrates how your organization turns inspiration into impact.

Our organization itself is a story of turning inspiration into impact. When a couple of Californians decided four years ago that the people of the state didn’t have enough information about the ways they’re governed and how the state works, they were inspired to launch CALmatters. Today, our organization has grown to 22 people. We do stories every day that influence new legislation, hold those who govern us accountable, and help Californians understand vital issues that affect their health, education, finances and environment so they can become more engaged with their own democracy.

For a very recent example of the ways we're working to boost our impact, listen to our new podcast “Force of Law” that’s providing a behind-the-scenes look at how police-shooting laws may change and giving Californians a chance to understand and engage in the issue.

Which of the CONNECT metrics will your submission impact?​​

Government responsiveness to residents’ needs

Participation in neighborhood councils

Voting rates

In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?​

Central LA

East LA

San Gabriel Valley

San Fernando Valley

South LA


South Bay

Antelope Valley

How will your project make LA the best place to CONNECT?

Because this work touches the other LA2050 initiatives, we'll coordinate closely with the LA2050 team. We'll adjust the plan as needed so that it works well for the program. But here's how we would approach it:


* We'll build our team, starting with a lead editor and a reporter at CALmatters in Los Angeles and a reporter at La Opinión. We'll also bring in Los Angeles journalism students skilled in multimedia storytelling.

* We'll research each LA2050 initiative to determine the intersections with government and policy areas we cover and assign the reporters to do stories that provide background and understanding of the legislative and regulatory issues related to each initiative's work. The purpose here is to raise awareness of the challenges and help people become more engaged in seeking solutions. Much of this will be done by the reporters on this project, while some will be done by other reporters at CALmatters and La Opinión who have specific topic expertise.

* We'll assign the student journalists to partner with the initiatives, identify the best ways to do personal storytelling around each one, develop plans for that storytelling and help to make it happen.

* We'll edit and publish all of the content as it becomes available. In addition to publishing it through CALmatters and LaOpinión, we can offer it to the LA2050 site and to the groups running the initiatives. We'll also share it with our media partners to increase the reach.


This content will be available to everyone, but it'll be especially useful to at least four groups: The people running the initiatives, the people they're serving, the elected officials who are willing to help address these issues, and the activist Californians who care about these issues and will get involved when they read our stories. While the topics are in Los Angeles County and that's the primary service area, the fact that the content will be available statewide may help draw attention to needed legislative and policy changes.


It will take about four weeks to hire the team and make the initial assignments, and another couple weeks to get the first stories done. So we expect to begin publishing toward the end of the second month and keep up a steady cadence of content through the full year.


Our work will build connections by telling the stories of the groups running the initiatives and the people being served. Those stories will help their fellow Angelenos understand them and find ways to connect with them. Those connections can in turn lead to everything from increased financial support to volunteers, resources, jobs for clients and much more. We also hope this effort leads Angelenos to connect and unite over their shared desire to play a more active civic role in their governance, which in turn makes for a stronger democracy.

In what stage of innovation is this project?​

Post-pilot (testing an expansion of concept after initially successful pilot)

Please explain how you will define and measure success for your project.​

We will be successful if we bring the other LA2050 initiatives to life, using a mix of policy stories, personal storytelling and compelling profiles to bring attention to the organizations doing good work and the people they're serving. We expect to see three specific measurable benefits: Anecdotes about people reading the stories and deciding to help one or more of the organizations, pickups in other media of the stories we create, and increased storytelling and communications capacity for each participating organization because of the work we've done with them.