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.
This study examines organizational dynamics, technological affordances and professional challenges of engaged journalism practices by analyzing how Hearken, one of the most celebrated audience engagement companies and its tools and services are being implemented in 15 U.S. news organizations. This framework identifies Hearken and organizations like it as important “external actors” providing technological “actants” that are shaping how newsrooms report the news by providing ways for audiences to be brought into producing the news, particularly during the earlier phases of the reporting process. Ultimately, this study presents a partial update to the decades-long literature on participatory journalism by suggesting that engaged journalism practices actually create opportunities for meaningful audience involvement.
Abstract: This study was written with both scholarly and practical questions in mind. We examined the organizational culture of a sample of 15 news organizations across the United States to better understand how particular factors affect the process of using Hearken.
What can engaged journalists learn from academic research, and what academic research would be most useful to us? We took on this topic with a panel of researchers, Jacob Nelson of Arizona State University, Talia Stroud of the Center for Media Engagement, and Nikki Usher of the University of Illinois, who believe in helping working journalists.
Abstract: This research examines the impact of One River, Many Stories, a community storytelling project designed to disrupt relationships between news organizations and their audiences. Community engagement methods were used to study this two-year storytelling project. Ripple Effects Mapping methods measured its impact. Findings reveal that traditional news media deviated little from established journalism routines while citizen participation was diverse and expansive.
Curious City, a series produced by WBEZ Chicago Public Media, invites listeners to participate in the reporting process. Using the Hearken digital engagement platform, listeners ask and then vote on questions that are turned into radio stories. Over a year, Curious City attempted to engage residents of Chicago areas that traditionally had few public radio listeners, mostly stigmatized African-American and Latinx neighborhoods, to participate via face-to-face outreach, outreach via community partners, or social media marketing. Using a communication infrastructure theory framework, this study draws from observations and 25 interviews with journalists, participating audience members, residents of targeted outreach areas, and partner organizations to examine best practices to combine digital and offline strategies, and the importance of pre- and post-broadcast engagement.
This study explores emerging approaches to engagement based on in-depth interviews with editors, and we map these approaches onto the literature on participatory journalism. Our findings suggest engagement approaches vary along several dimensions, including whether audiences are seen as as more passive or more active and at what stages audience data or input in incorporated into the news product. We identify technological, economic, professional, and organizational factors that shape and constrain how news outlets practice “engagement.”
In the weeks leading up to the 2016 election, we surveyed Snapchat users about their use of the app, specifically for news and politics. Results are based on a survey of 977 regular Snapchat users fielded the week before Election Day.
Abstract: This article proposes and tests a theoretical model intended to pedagogically revitalize the preparation of journalism and communication students for their professional roles within a democratic society. Using the culture-centered approach to guide students’ experiences with a marginalized segment of the community, the authors conclude that this curricular model provides value by facilitating students’ critical investigation of personal identity and self, their positionality amid structural complexities, and how this relates to their professional role.
Abstract: In an effort to address their newly empowered and increasingly fragmented audiences, many newsrooms are hiring editors tasked with audience engagement. This paper investigates this new genre of news workers, the scope of their activity and their roles within news organizations. Interviews with 22 audience engagement editors working in 20 U.S. news organizations show how they conceptualize journalism, journalistic practices and standards, and how engagement strategies fulfill important institutional functions. Audience engagement editors serve as multi-tasking intermediaries between reporters, editors, advertisers, and their audiences.
Abstract: Digital media tools provide new ways for media companies to distribute information and engage the public. This study explores the emerging, technology-influenced role of managing digital media products through the observations of innovators and early adopters in these positions. It assesses the attention to, or lack thereof, traditional journalistic standards and ethics in product development processes and offers insight into relevant directions for journalism curriculum.
This report describes what we learned from analyzing 9,616,211 comments people posted to The New York Times website between October 30, 2007 – the date on which The New York Times began allowing users to post comments to news stories – and August 13, 2013.