Building community:
The Lansing Journal brand

(with thanks to Bernadette Jiwa, Difference)


(These underlie everything else.)

Truth about us:

  • We are people who like learning—about other people, about technology, about better ways to share stories.
  • We believe that Lansing, Illinois, is a great community.
  • We believe that balanced, professional, local news can both reflect and shape the culture of a community.

Truth about the market/industry:

  • Printed newspapers are in decline and have chosen not to cover Lansing, Illinois, news.
  • If we balance print and internet strategically, we can multiply their impact rather than setting up either to cannibalize the other.

Truth about the people we want to serve:

  • Lansing businesses want to reach Lansing consumers.
  • Lansing residents are interested in Lansing stories.
  • Lansing news readers want information from people they trust.
  • Lansing is a diverse community, though that diversity is not represented in government or other established leadership positions. When we are authentically building community, we are intentional about sharing news that includes all of Lansing.


(Why does The Lansing Journal exist?)

  1. To provide balanced, professional, local news in a way that builds community in Lansing, Illinois
  2. To create advertising opportunities for local businesses
  3. To create job opportunities for other people who understand our vision


(Who is this for? How can we help them live better lives?)

  1. The Lansing Journal is a news source that Lansing, Illinois, residents look forward to reading, whether they are old-timers or newcomers; white collar or blue collar; black, brown, or white; young or old.
  2. Our feature stories in particular are a way of building community among people who are different from each other. By giving “the other” a face, a name, and a story, we reduce fear and increase pride. Lansing residents want to feel proud of their community.
  3. We represent people in Lansing who are not currently represented in their government.
  4. We communicate information from the government to less involved residents.
  5. We are respectful when gathering information, never making people feel used or rushed.
  6. We develop a variety of sources in order to keep our reporting balanced.
  7. We are respectful when selling advertising space, not promising results unless we are confident we can deliver.
  8. We provide accurate information to residents about their neighbors, schools, businesses, and community events.
  9. We give people interesting stories to share within their own extended networks.


(What do people believe? What would we like them to believe about us?)

  1. Lansing, Illinois, is a family-friendly town with a rich history and a bright future that we can all participate in.
  2. People who work for The Lansing Journal are honest, curious, trustworthy, and professional.
  3. If you read it in the Journal, you can believe it.


(How do we create value for our customers?)

  1. People want to be proud of the town they come from. The Lansing Journal creates value by giving them stories they want other people to know.
  2. The Lansing Journal creates value for Lansing businesses not only by opening more opportunities for advertising, but also by reminding residents that these businesses are building community as well.
  3. We create value for local writers and photographers because every contributor gets a byline. We provide guidance and mentoring when necessary, but we trust each writer to stand behind his or her own words.
  4. Our goal is not to report news that is already being reported by other sources; we add value to the conversation by asking more questions, getting more details, and sharing information that may have been overlooked by other media.
  5. We do not limit ourselves to “positive” news, and we do not shy away from “negative” news. When we have to choose whether to cover a story or not, we ask if covering it is a way of building community.
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