When we started our Locked Out investigation into the lack of routes out of homelessness, the follow up to our Dying Homeless project, we knew this on paper. But what we did not necessarily understand was the disorienting reality for so many of living like this. The Bureau Local project is a young one, and we are still exploring how journalism in the UK could better serve communities. We want to understand how people who live through the issues at hand can help conceive and shape media narratives, rather than being fodder for them.
Can Dialogue Journalism Engage Audiences, Foster Civil Discourse, and Increase Trust in the Media?
Spaceship Media and other outlets are experimenting with ways to bridge the political divides in the U.S. Other efforts include a new StoryCorps feature with intimate conversations between political opposites and a Reddit page at The Seattle Times that ran with a series on race called “Under Our Skin.” Facebook, where Russia-financed vitriol helped to inflame hatred before the 2016 election, hosts issue pages moderated by journalists on topics such as health care, and hyperlocal discussion groups about schools and town elections run by citizen volunteers.
Start Earning Trust
Newsrooms need to tell a consistent, repetitive story about what motivates their work, the range of information and stories they offer, what sets them apart, who they are, how they operate and how people can reach them. Telling that story should be a constant drumbeat — part of the rhythm of our work as journalists. So, how do you get started? You can start by talking about your mission, discussing your ethics and asking for feedback.
Gather: The Art and Science of Effective Convening
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.
Civic Media Practice
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.
Innovation in Public Funding for Local Journalism: A Case Study of New Jersey’s 2018 Civic Information Bill
This article explores an effort to direct state-level public funds toward journalism by using a national policy window combined with an intensive grass-roots effort. We use the lens of Kingdon’s policy process model to showcase dynamics that contribute to the media policymaking literature. The process and enactment of New Jersey’s 2018 Civic Information Consortium bill are analyzed using a combination of archival research and oral history, highlighting the efforts of policy entrepreneurs and knowledge-brokers, who served as key advocates for the bill’s passage.
Conducting Focus Groups to Understand Local News Audiences
This guide is designed to give newsrooms a simple, step-by-step process to host focus groups with local residents. It is based on the work of Phil Napoli, Jessica Crowell, and Kathleen McCollough at the Rutgers University News Measures Research Project at the Media + The Public Interest Initiative.
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.
Reporting Beyond the Problem: From Civic Journalism to Solutions Journalism
This book provides an in-depth examination of socially-responsible news reporting practices, such as constructive journalism, solutions journalism, and peace journalism. Chapter 7, in particular, focuses on Engaged Journalism as a way to shift power dynamics to increase public participation.
Newsletters as News Products: A Guide for Local Newsrooms
This guide was created based on a workshop I gave to graduate students at the Tow-Knight Center for Entrepreneurial Journalism at the City University of New York. It is the culmination of a lot of research and my own experience with email outreach, online advocacy, and fundraising, as well as my work on the Local Fix, a weekly newsletter on tips and tools for local journalists.
Engaged Journalism Has Measurable Benefits
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.”
A guide to building deeper relationships with the communities you cover
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.