In June 2014, 243 refugees fled Libya on a boat bound for Italy. The boat never arrived. In 2015, Medium launched the Ghost Boat project, a crowdsourced “hackathon” effort to find out what happened. The cornerstone of the Ghost Boat project is a website where investigative journalist Eric Reidy posts in-depth articles documenting the search. Interested contributors are given guides and a repository of information gathered so far. The investigation was suspended in December 2016 pending additional leads. Learn more.
Drawn from a report by the Institute for Nonprofit News and Dot Connector Studio. The New England Center for Investigative Reporting held a series of community journalism hackathons focused on campaign contributions for four state ballot items. 65 people came to first hackathon, where they tested an app that allowed them to scour campaign contributions. The study of state contributions data revealed newsworthy nuggets, producing a series of stories for the NECIR’s The Eye and WGBH.
Drawn from a report by the Institute for Nonprofit News and Dot Connector Studio. The New Hampshire Center for Public Interest Journalism held a “Right to Know” event in March 2017 to educate the public on what rights they have to public records. The event connected right-to-know advocates and attorneys with citizens and reporters who were eager to know more about the government or had experienced frustration obtaining public records. The event featured one-on-one sessions, a detailed slide show, and a public forum for Q&A. More here, here, and here.
Drawn from a report by the Institute for Nonprofit News and Dot Connector Studio. Along with Albuquerque’s NPR and PBS stations, New Mexico In Depth is part of People, Power & Democracy, which was an annual multimedia collaboration covering New Mexico’s state government that held annual public community engagement events. The 2017 event attracted a diverse group of approximately 40 people who discussed current government problems, ways to improve them, and suggestions for future reporting. The event was also live-streamed. More here, here, and here.
In preparation for a county commissioners meeting on Miami’s transit issues, The New Tropic asked its readers to share solution ideas using the Twitter hashtag #solveMIAtransit. The New Tropic then curated those tweets in a Storify gallery on its site, allowing visitors to see what other people were saying and to join the conversation on Twitter. It also hosted a happy-hour event to discuss transit issues, published opinion pieces by community members, and used the #solveMIAtransit hashtag to point readers to related conversations and additional information.
Drawn from a report by the Institute for Nonprofit News and Dot Connector Studio. NJ Spotlight On Cities is an annual conference that brings together people who believe in vibrant urban centers. In 2016, NJ Spotlight also incorporated crowd-sourcing into planning the event schedule, and questions and issues brought up during an open session of the event informed a Q & A with gubernatorial hopefuls later that day. More than 250 people participated. More here and here.
Drawn from a report by the Institute for Nonprofit News and Dot Connector Studio. Oklahoma Watch hosts an annual public forum series called “Oklahoma Watch-Out.” The series includes moderated discussions with newsmakers and prominent elected officials on topics such as public health, education, and criminal justice. Events typically attract 60-80 people, and videos of the discussions are posted on oklahomawatch.org. Public radio and TV stations also feature the events as part of their regular programming. More here, here, and here.
In 2014, ProPublica launched its Six Words youth engagement project in partnership with The Race Card Project. This project responded to the 60th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court ending “separate but equal” legislation, and focused on two Alabama high schools—one integrated, one all-black. ProPublica reporters invited students from each school to meet and share their experiences around the re-segregation happening in their communities and photograph their experiences in school.
Drawn from a report by the Institute for Nonprofit News and Dot Connector Studio. The Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting created the Bridging Divides project, which brought “Fractured Lands” reporter Scott Anderson to K-12 schools and colleges across the country. They built a series of lessons on their online Lesson Builder for teachers to use in the classroom, which has received over 14,000 page views. Chicago students produced children’s books based on the characters in Scott’s reporting — and presented the work to elementary-school students.
This summary is from a report by the Institute for Nonprofit News and Dot Connectors Studio. Texas-based community newspaper Rains County Leader recently launched a new web platform called followtheleader.today. The platform is a blog-forum hybrid that allows readers to comment and interact with stories published by Rains County Leader staff as well as interact with one another. The objective behind the new platform is to allow the newspaper to stay in direct communication with the community it serves.
Drawn from a report by the Institute for Nonprofit News and Dot Connector Studio. San Francisco Public Press launched Public Press Live to present and host discussions with 40 community groups to raise its profile, build trust with the community, and expand membership. Topics for presentations were developed in concert with leaders of local groups and ranged from sea level rise in the Bay Area to the role of local media organizations in the fake news era. Public Press reporters are currently working on a series of stories inspired by a story tips generated at recent Public Press Live events. More here, here, and here.
Launched in 2015 by StoryCorps, the Great Thanksgiving Listen project focuses on empowering high school students to create and preserve a contemporary oral history of the United States. Participating high school students are tasked with recording an interview with an elder family member or friend over Thanksgiving about their life experiences in the United States using the StoryCorps mobile app. Recorded stories can then be submitted to StoryCorps, where they will be published on the StoryCorps website and entered into the Library of Congress records.