In early 2016, San Francisco public radio station KALW started using the engagement tool Hearken to interact with its audience and create relevant stories. The collaborative reporting project, called Hey Area, has yielded about 15 long and 15 short stories so far — all based on ideas generated by audience members.
After the 2016 election, Colorado Public Radio (CPR) reporters wanted to know how they could help bridge conversation across party lines in an increasingly polarized political climate. So in May, CPR brought together a politically and ethnically diverse group of listeners to share a meal and engage in conversation. The dinner series, now dubbed Breaking Bread.
Following a surge of populist movements in Europe, the need to engage with the public felt acute. German news organization ZEIT Online wondered, “Could someone develop a dating platform for political debates?” To find out, ZEIT Online launched a project called Germany Talks.
In 2016, Chicago-based civic journalism lab City Bureau started its Documenters program, which pays and equips community members to document public meetings and civic events in the city. As the program grew, they teamed up with ProPublica Illinois and volunteer coders to “scrape” the web for public meeting listings and populate an events calendar usable by journalists and citizens alike.
Iowa Ideas is a reporting and event series started by the Cedar Rapids Gazette in 2016 and designed to “explore the key questions and big ideas that will shape the future of Iowa.” The project’s hallmark event this year was its inaugural conference, which brought together more than 600 people to discuss Iowa’s education, workforce, healthcare, agriculture, energy, environment, and transportation.
Public Radio International (PRI) launched the reporting project Global Nation in 2012 to cover the “real-world stories of immigrants in the United States—their challenges, successes and how uneven US immigration laws affect their lives.” PRI then created the Global Nation Exchange to foster discussion between immigrants and help ground editorial decisions in what was most important to them.
In November 2016, Vox started a Facebook group called What’s Next? A Community for Obamacare Enrollees by Vox. Vox focused on inviting people who rely on the Affordable Care Act for health insurance coverage and who weren’t sure what the 2016 election — and Republicans’ promises of repeal — meant for them. It was later renamed to “VoxCare.”