What if readers, not just sources, were an active part of the news reporting process? A new group of journalists is exploring that possibility in an effort to deepen their reporting and build community relationships. ‘Engagement reporters’ are journalists who combine the power of community engagement with traditional news reporting to do journalism that aims to authentically serve the community and reflect their interests and needs. They’re not audience engagement editors and they’re not news reporters — they live in both worlds.
When it comes to hiring and promoting Latinas in newsrooms, the powers that be often blame a lack of progress on their inability to find enough candidates with the requisite qualifications, also known as the “pipeline” problem. As a response, Dallas-based former television reporter Rebecca Aguilar launched a Facebook page called “Latinas in Journalism.” Within four hours of its November launch, the page got 200 members. Within three days, it was up to 1,000. Today, it has almost 1,400 members and more joining daily.
Newsletter expert Jacqueline Boltik, who helped develop projects such as Ann Friedman’s Weekly and the LA Times’ newsletters and journalism professor Daniela Gerson, who recently created Migratory Notes, break down what you need to know to make your newsletter take off. In this course, you’ll learn best practices to grow your newsletter, design basics, and how to report and measure the data from your email campaigns.
We know trust in journalism is low. So what are we doing about that (beyond hoping it changes)? Learn how to use social platforms to tell the story of your journalism and why it’s credible. Don’t just share links to published stories. Build relationships with your users by sharing your process, introducing your staff and telling the story of your brand. Persuade people that you’re worth following. Invite them to connect with you. Give them a sense of who you are and invite them to make an emotional connection.
As Ben DeJarnette writes in the kick-off piece to this special series, “There perhaps was no journalistic buzzword more widely discussed in 2015 than ‘engagement.’” The series, writes DeJarnette, was inspired by Experience Engagement, a four-day participatory “un-conference” hosted by Journalism That Matters and the Agora Journalism Center. Over the next two weeks, this series will explore the progress, promise and potential challenges of community engagement in journalism.