What if journalists covered controversial issues differently — based on how humans actually behave when they are polarized and suspicious? As politicians have become more polarized, we have increasingly allowed ourselves to be used by demagogues on both sides of the aisle, amplifying their insults instead of exposing their motivations. But what else can we do with conflict, besides letting it sit? We’re not advocates, and we shouldn’t be in the business of making people feel better. Our mission is not a diplomatic one. So what options does that leave?
In a context of increasing distrust in institutions, including government, media and news, there is need to understand how civic innovators are using media and technology to counter these trends. Based on over 40 interviews with practitioners, this report identifies “civic media practice” as media and technology used to facilitate democratic process. It focuses specifically on those practitioners using media tools to form relationships and build trust – a practice that sometimes runs counter to the apparent needs of organizations to enhance efficiency through technology. This report identifies civic media practice as a direct response to the crisis of distrust and describes the negotiation of values that takes place as media is designed and deployed in organizations.
This guide will show you how newsrooms can engage the communities they serve using techniques that help journalists better understand and address residents’ needs and concerns. That understanding helps newsrooms produce outstanding journalism that gives community members a greater voice in public affairs.
Gather is a hands-on guidebook for all convening designers and social change leaders who want to create convenings that tap into a group’s collective intelligence and make substantial progress on a shared challenge. It provides simple frameworks for the questions that are often ignored: whether convening is the right tool to use to advance a strategic agenda, and how a convening can be used to achieve a specific purpose. It then helps readers understand how to customize the design to fit that purpose, laying out a clear series of steps for what is a naturally chaotic workflow.
What Vulnerable Communities Stand to Gain — or Lose — from Sharing Their Stories with Reporters, and What Reporters are Doing About It. With this guide, I aim to help journalists navigate the ethical dilemmas they encounter as they interview people who have experienced harm. While there are numerous practical guides on such interviewing, especially on trauma journalism, I have yet to find a guide that explores the deeper ethical questions of what conditions, if any, make such journalism morally justifiable and not purely extractive or voyeuristic. Here’s the backstory from NiemanLab.
The Listening Post Collective provides journalists, newsroom leaders, and non-profits tools and advice to create meaningful conversations with their communities. Whether you are a journalist, media outlet or civil society group, these steps will get you into a flow of listening to your community, creating stories that resonate, and fostering an ongoing conversation with people. Learn more about the Listening Post Collective from Poynter, MediaShift, and journalism.co.uk.
Harvis is a mobile web tool for collecting live contributions from audience members. It creates the capacity for users to react in real-time to events and measure their engagement and responses and have conversations around those reactions. Harvis’ public reveal was at the Tribeca Film Institute’s Interactive Day 2014. Here’s a write-up from The New York Times, Fast Company, and A Fourth Act.
City Bureau focuses on engagement journalism being for the people and by the people, and they’ve created guidelines with the intent of fusing traditional journalism with engagement journalism. The resource explores what community engagement is, and where it’s leading the future of journalism.
News Voices takes an organizing approach to support quality local news by working directly with communities. When we say organizing, we don’t mean “activism.” Organizing is fundamentally about listening to people tell you what they need and what kind of world they want and working collaboratively to make it happen. This guide will help newsrooms use organizing principles and values to build deep relationships to enhance community trust.
As Democracy Fund seeks to support new tools and practices that can expand community engagement in journalism, we wanted to understand the landscape of the field in more detail. We commissioned this paper to help us create a taxonomy of engagement practices. In this paper, we document a broad spectrum of efforts that help position communities at the center of journalism. We understand that each model meets different newsroom goals and community needs. We refer to the full spectrum of ideas presented here as ‘Engaged Journalism.’