Building Journalism With Community, Not For It

At the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, we believe that journalism sustainability is rooted in building stronger relationships between communities and newsrooms. While the distinction between “building with” instead of “building for” feels at first like semantics, when we begin to use it as a lens to examine journalism as both a process and a product, we see numerous ways it challenges the status quo.

How Community Listening Sessions Can Help Stations Reach New Audiences

We often hear questions like this one: how can our station reach new audiences? One way to start is with community listening sessions. In a recent webinar, we heard from two stations that have sessions to build relationships in communities that are underserved by the media. KCUR community engagement director Ron Jones shared how community listening sessions have helped form the reporting initiative Beyond Our Borders, a multi-platform look at how geographic borders affect the daily lives of people in Kansas City.

Community Planning Toolkit

This section of the toolkit provides guidance on the issues to consider when planning and designing community engagement. It focuses on quality and effectiveness, process planning and designing engagement tailored to the particular issue, level of participation to be achieved, timeframe and range of stakeholders affected.

Reciprocal Journalism: A concept of mutual exchange between journalists and audiences

Abstract: Drawing on a structural theory of reciprocity, this essay introduces the idea of reciprocal journalism: a way of imagining how journalists might develop more mutually beneficial relationships with audiences across three forms of exchange—direct, indirect, and sustained types of reciprocity. We introduce this concept in the context of community journalism but also discuss its relevance for journalism broadly.

GroundSource

GroundSource is a platform that newsrooms and nonprofits use to engage audiences via text and Facebook Messenger. GroundSource has been used to solicit input/feedback from community members, to build customized data services for low-income communities, and to share content and push out live updates. Related references here and here.

Developmental Evaluation

Developmental evaluation (DE) offers a powerful approach to monitoring and supporting social innovations by working in partnership with program decision-makers. In this book, Michael Quinn Patton illustrates how DE can be used for a range of purposes: ongoing program development, adapting effective principles of practice to local contexts, generating innovations and taking them to scale, and facilitating rapid response in crisis situations. Here’s a quick explanation of developmental evaluation, and check out how DE was applied to the Elevate Engagement conference and JTM’s Civic Communication report.

The Power of Appreciative Inquiry: A Practical Guide to Positive Change

This book describes a wildly popular approach to organizational change that dramatically improves performance by encouraging people to study, discuss, learn from, and build on what’s working, rather than simply trying to fix what’s not. Whitney and Trosten-Bloom use examples from many different types of organizations to illustrate Appreciative Inquiry (AI) in action. The authors have included a new chapter on the community applications of Appreciative Inquiry, as well as a host of new examples and other enhancements. More on AI here, here, and here.

Public Journalism 2.0: The Promise and Reality of a Citizen Engaged Press

Public Journalism 2.0 examines the ways that civic or public journalism is evolving, especially as audience-created content—sometimes referred to as citizen journalism or participatory journalism—becomes increasingly prominent in contemporary media. As the contributors to this edited volume demonstrate, the mere use of digital technologies is not the fundamental challenge of a new citizen-engaged journalism; rather, a depper understanding of how civic/public journalism can inform citizen-propelled initiatives is required.

Power and Empowerment

We attempt to demystify and reveal the many faces of power. We look at power as an individual, collective, and political force that can either undermine or empower citizens and their organizations. It is a force that alternatively can facilitate, hasten, or halt the process of change promoted through advocacy. For this discussion, we draw on practical experience and theory, particularly related to poverty and women’s rights where power has been analyzed from the vantage point of subordination and discrimination. We also offer a variety of tools and frameworks for mapping and analyzing power and interests.

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