Over the past month, 30 states have made journalism an essential service in their disaster declarations, putting local news outlets on par with hospitals and grocery stores. It makes sense: local news is how we find out about stay at home orders and whether our nearby hospital has tests available. But there is a troubling irony to this moment: The coronavirus — while creating a need for strong local news — has ignited an economic crisis that could wipe out huge swaths of journalism in America.
We often hear questions like this one: how can our station reach new audiences? One way to start is with community listening sessions. In a recent webinar, we heard from two stations that have sessions to build relationships in communities that are underserved by the media. KCUR community engagement director Ron Jones shared how community listening sessions have helped form the reporting initiative Beyond Our Borders, a multi-platform look at how geographic borders affect the daily lives of people in Kansas City.