In early 2017, CALmatters education reporter Jessica Calefati grew frustrated while researching a piece about California school funding, after two Los Angeles area schools refused to comply with her records request. Calefati used “open reporting,” a method that gives readers insight to a reporter’s or media outlet’s newsgathering process, to enhance her main story.
The Seattle Times launched Under Our Skin, a multimedia project aimed at fostering meaningful and honest conversations about race in the region. The site features video interviews with 18 community members from diverse backgrounds reflecting on and talking about a set of terms commonly used in conversations and debates about race.
A day after the funeral of Freddie Gray and the subsequent escalation of protest violence, and in response to the narrowly focused reporting of national and local news outlets on the Baltimore Uprising, Wide Angle Youth Media (WAYM) students and staff felt compelled to use their documentary skills to collect positive images of Baltimore youth.
In 2015, Free Press launched News Voices after recognizing that community members aren’t often included in the discussions around how communities get news or how journalists could better serve the communities they work in. The program started in New Jersey with World Cafe style listening forums where community members could share their concerns with journalists.
British Columbia-based Discourse Media sent reporter Trevor Jang on a listening road trip to Northern BC to report on the contentious Pacific Northwest liquefied natural gas (LNG) pipeline project. He facilitated online discussions through a Facebook group, as well as in-person meetings, in an attempt to prompt dialogue and better understand a complicated issue.
In 2017, The Listening Post Collective, with support from an Omaha based foundation, conducted an Information Ecosystem Assessment in north Omaha, Nebraska. The resulting assessment maps the existing media and information ecosystem and offers examples and suggestions of steps that may improve access to information and news coverage of north Omaha.
In early 2016, San Francisco public radio station KALW started using the engagement tool Hearken to interact with its audience and create relevant stories. The collaborative reporting project, called Hey Area, has yielded about 15 long and 15 short stories so far — all based on ideas generated by audience members.
Jennifer Brandel wanted to know: what would happen if the public was brought in to the editorial process? As an independent producer and reporter at WBEZ in Chicago, the question had weighed on her, and in 2012 she founded Curious City through an initiative with the Association of Independents in Radio (AIR).
The Wichita Eagle newspaper created a reading challenge through a closed Facebook group. Participants in the virtual book club can track their progress in the challenge, share book reviews, make recommendations, provide links to book-related stories and events. It’s managed by books columnist and education reporter, Suzanne Tobias.
After the 2016 election, Colorado Public Radio (CPR) reporters wanted to know how they could help bridge conversation across party lines in an increasingly polarized political climate. So in May, CPR brought together a politically and ethnically diverse group of listeners to share a meal and engage in conversation. The dinner series, now dubbed Breaking Bread.
Following a surge of populist movements in Europe, the need to engage with the public felt acute. German news organization ZEIT Online wondered, “Could someone develop a dating platform for political debates?” To find out, ZEIT Online launched a project called Germany Talks.
In March 2017, Seattle’s The Evergrey took about 20 Seattleites to rural Oregon to spend an afternoon in conversation with 16 residents of Sherman County. The project’s name, Melting Mountains, was coined by Sandy Macnab, a just-retired Sherman and Wasco County agricultural agent who planned the event with Anika Anand and Mónica Guzmán, co-founders of The Evergrey.