How do we make the case for investing in engagement? “Engagement” is an evolving set of practices within journalism, and its impact on attracting, developing, and satisfying audiences has yet to be fully and rigorously documented, particularly by the scholarly community. One entity that is making a strong case for the commercial, as well as the journalistic value of doing engagement work, is Hearken, whose landing page features in bold letters: “Does Hearken Work? Yes.”
While trust in media is low, communities always find ways to share news and information—here’s what we learned from our latest listening project. Since 2016, City Bureau’s Public Newsroom has brought people together to discuss, debate and deconstruct how news and information is created and shared in our communities on Chicago’s South and West Sides.
Language matters. How we think about and frame the communities we serve inside the newsroom influences the issues we tackle, the assignments we pursue, how we define success, and how we edit, package and circulate our stories. That’s why we want to share some strategies, based on our own hard-learned lessons, for how to build genuine and productive relationships with your communities.
In light of the media industry’s growing focus on audience engagement, this article explores how online and offline forms of engagement unfold within journalism, based on a comparative case study of two American public media newsrooms.
Last year we embarked on a process to define what impact means for a people-centered, community news lab. As our young media start-up matures, remembering why we do this work is as important as building models for the future of local media. That’s why City Bureau’s first Impact Report begins with a story—a historical guiding star from our home on Chicago’s South Side—the story of the Pullman Porters.
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.’
What’s possible when the public and journalists engage to support communities to thrive? Engagement is about authentic connections, valuing people, and mutual exchanges so that what’s best for individuals and the community as a whole emerges. With both journalists and other community members present at Experience Engagement, some conversations also pointed towards a communications ecosystem that supports the civic health of communities. Beyond journalism, as we know it, this civic communications ecosystem would provide robust information, feedback, inclusive dialogue, strategy and action for serving community goals. Read more of this from co-author Peggy Holman.
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.
Many will remember—some with a touch of heat—the 1990’s movement known as civic (or public) journalism, which called for a rethinking of newsrooms’ relationships with their communities. Is today’s engaged journalism a new chapter of that movement? As someone who edited a newspaper during those earlier years, and who is now working as a senior fellow and consultant with the Democracy Fund, I’d say the short answer is yes – but: Engaged journalism is a much-evolved descendant, born into a radically changed landscape.
Abstract: This research examines the impact of One River, Many Stories, a community storytelling project designed to disrupt relationships between news organizations and their audiences. Community engagement methods were used to study this two-year storytelling project. Ripple Effects Mapping methods measured its impact. Findings reveal that traditional news media deviated little from established journalism routines while citizen participation was diverse and expansive.
Looking for an alternative to face-to-face events in the time of Coronavirus? People have been experimenting with synchronous online convening for years and the tools continue to improve. Here are some suggestions based on experiences of the Journalism That Matters team.
Journalism + Design has developed a suite of systems thinking tools for journalists to focus their reporting on the underlying causes of complex problems: the policies, power dynamics, and beliefs fueling systems that actively harm, marginalize, or benefit specific people. By expanding our lens beyond individual events and outcomes, journalists can hold entire systems accountable, rather than just the symptoms they produce.