Launched by Newsday, nextLI is a new website designed to offer Long Island residents a platform to learn and debate important issues, to connect them by interests and views, and foster a better understanding of the challenges of the region. The free forum, found at next.newsday.com, will focus on issues of public policy that can be informed by original research and will be a destination for Long Islanders to gather and problem solve.
nextLI is the next phase of the Long Island Index, a research report published annually to help local leaders devise solutions to regional problems. The project originally belonged to the Rauch Foundation before they decided to seek new ownership, and it is now managed by the Newsday opinion department.
Sam Guzik, editor for strategy and platforms, and Amanda Fiscina, research and digital production manager, said, “We were actually looking up data they compiled when we saw an invitation for new leadership. We immediately realized there was an opportunity to extend their work and strengthen our connection with our community,”
While there were a lot of qualified proposals, Newsday was the only one that offered to build a digital community to allow Long Islanders to take action and be involved in the discussion. Whether it’s discussions about the affordability crisis in the housing market, traffic on the freeways and issues with public transit systems, Guzik and Fiscina hope that nextLI becomes the destination for collaborative problem solving.
“We’re particularly excited about what we bring to the table as the region’s paper of record. Our editorial board has been a voice in defining the future of Long Island since it was founded more than 75 years ago and this is a new phase in that mission,” they said. “We would like nextLI to be the region’s town square where the editorial board would convene and inform the public policy debate, not shut it down with a singular viewpoint.”
To aid with the discussions, nextLI will publish a mix of original research, aggregated data and first-person accounts of how public policy intersects with the community. The first iteration of the site is live, and the first research report is expected to be published this fall.
A week after nextLI launched in April, hundreds of individuals had already signed up for the email list and dozens expressed interest in joining the community advisory board.
Guzik and Fiscina said they want nextLI to be a critical part of the future of Long Island’s civic infrastructure. “Just as Levittown on Long Island was the nation’s first suburb, we hope nextLI can be a model for other regions looking to engage their entire community in envisioning the future.”