Community Media Training

This summary is from a report by the Institute for Nonprofit News and Dot Connector Studio. Voice of OC wanted to explore different forms of monetization while ensuring that interested communities have a real stake in the newsroom by giving them direct access to a vibrant op-ed page, listing more press releases, and instituting a civic calendar. Its main measure of success, online fundraising, soared by more than 117 percent last year. Voice of OC published more than 200 op-eds last year, and implemented a training program to encourage community members to write op-eds. (Here’s an example training.)

Bay State Ballot Question Hackathon

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.

How I Work

With entries going as far back as 2006, “How I Work” is one of the longest-running columns on the Gizmodo Media (née Gawker Media) online publication Lifehacker. The premise of the column is simple: First, Lifehacker asks its readers to share whose workflows and processes they’re interested in learning about. Then, they reach out to the people suggested in those recommendations and profile them and their workflows on the site. (Here’s an example.) The objective of the column is to give readers insights into the successful work habits of others in the hopes of spreading inspiration and best practices.

Teaching Failure: Investigating Cancelled Classes

German investigative journalism non-profit Correctiv conducted a crowd-sourced investigation into the cancellation of classes in Dortmund schools called Unterrichtsausfall (roughly “Class Failure” or “Teaching Failure”). Journalists asked community members involved in the education system to report on class cancellations via an online platform called the Cloud Newsroom. Read the project announcement and project retrospective in German for more.

The Great Thanksgiving Listen

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.

Ghost Boat

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.

The Colorado Sun

Using funding from a successful 2018 Kickstarter campaign and support from block-chain journalism initiative Civil, the Colorado Sun is an ad-free new project. The model attempts to decentralize ownership of the newsroom in order to avoid a repeat of the recent hedge fund-mandate layoffs at the competing Denver Sun—layoffs that provided the staffing and ideological genesis for the Colorado Sun, as career journalists who had lost their jobs sought out new employment and a better, more sustainable way of reporting the news. More here, here and here.

Summit’s Sustainable Future: A Public Civic Event in NJ

CivicStory partnered with Summit Greenfaith Circle, an organization that includes six local houses of worship, to convene Summit’s Sustainable Future, a public event to help launch the “public input” phase of the City of Summit’s 10-year Master Plan re-examination. 60 people attended the event, which included a Q&A and lively post-event discussions; a video of the event aired over a several-week period. Learn more from the city’s 10-year master plan and a public forum.

Public Press Live

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.

‘Rona Call: A Community-Info Phone Tree

Free Press’ News Voices team created a guide to help their community reach out to five folks and ask them a series of questions about what information they need to stay safe, healthy, and connected. The News Voices also relayed these findings to local journalists to help inform media coverage, raise questions to pose to decision-makers, and suggest how to frame stories in a way that will provide value to communities. More on FP’s response to COVID-19.

Making Connections: Public Legislator Database

Drawn from a report by the Institute for Nonprofit News and Dot Connector Studio. In 2016, The Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting created a searchable database on local lawmakers’ private financial interests, sponsored legislation, and committee appointments to make this information more accessible to the public. Learn more in their guide and the original announcement.

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