Listen to and learn from the finalists of the 2022 OJA/Gather Award in Community-Centered Journalism, Medium/Large Newsroom category. Stefanie Ritoper of Southern California Public Radio and Jenny Stratton & Samantha Cabrera Friend of Catchlight share lessons from their community-engagement projects.
ProPublica collaborated with the Arizona Daily Star to launch a year-long collaboration uncovering the unfulfilled government services provided for Arizonans with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD): State of Denial.
Unheard, published by ProPublica and Anchorage Daily News, is an engagement project that creates space for victims of sexual abuse in Alaska to share their stories and recovery journeys. The project focused on the collaboration between the writers and the community members that this issue directly affects.
Huge datasets that cover vital national issues are coming out of the federal government every day, and within them hide endless numbers of story leads for local journalists. With the proliferation of available data, it’s become common for newsrooms to have access to datasets that contain more story leads than they can meaningfully pursue themselves. Collaborative data journalism allows multiple newsrooms to find and tell those stories, increasing impactful stories told.
Engagement reporting at ProPublica is about giving you a place to share that kind of information. Our job is about connecting with, mobilizing and marshaling communities who have information that becomes more powerful when it’s all put together. We operate as kind of journalistic community organizers, both online and off.
In 2014, ProPublica launched its Six Words youth engagement project in partnership with The Race Card Project. This project responded to the 60th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court ending “separate but equal” legislation, and focused on two Alabama high schools—one integrated, one all-black. ProPublica reporters invited students from each school to meet and share their experiences around the re-segregation happening in their communities and photograph their experiences in school.
We chatted with Terry Parris Jr. of ProPublica, Summer Fields of Hearken, and Julia Haslanger of Hearken about hiring for engagement. What should you look for in job candidates? What questions should you ask them? How is hiring for these jobs different from other journalism gigs?