This guide will show you how newsrooms can engage the communities they serve using techniques that help journalists better understand and address residents’ needs and concerns. That understanding helps newsrooms produce outstanding journalism that gives community members a greater voice in public affairs.
The Listening Post Collective provides journalists, newsroom leaders, and non-profits tools and advice to create meaningful conversations with their communities. Whether you are a journalist, media outlet or civil society group, these steps will get you into a flow of listening to your community, creating stories that resonate, and fostering an ongoing conversation with people. Learn more about the Listening Post Collective from Poynter, MediaShift, and journalism.co.uk.
What Vulnerable Communities Stand to Gain — or Lose — from Sharing Their Stories with Reporters, and What Reporters are Doing About It. With this guide, I aim to help journalists navigate the ethical dilemmas they encounter as they interview people who have experienced harm. While there are numerous practical guides on such interviewing, especially on trauma journalism, I have yet to find a guide that explores the deeper ethical questions of what conditions, if any, make such journalism morally justifiable and not purely extractive or voyeuristic. Here’s the backstory from NiemanLab.
El Tímpano’s first impact report outlines how they expanded their work and organization to inform, engage, and amplify the voices of communities most directly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The organization filled a gap in Spanish-language news and information and provided a platform for more than a thousand Latino and Mayan immigrants to share, in real-time, their experience of the pandemic.
Imagined Audiences draws on ethnographic case studies of three news organizations to reveal how journalists’ assumptions about their audiences shape their approaches to their audiences. Jacob L. Nelson examines the role that audiences have traditionally played in journalism, how that role has changed, and what those changes mean for both the profession and the public.
This playbook for leaders and journalists at public media stations is a practical exploration of how public media newsrooms can better engage with and amplify the voices of their local communities. America Amplified partnered with eight journalism collaborations across the country encompassing more than 50 public radio stations.
Outlier Media’s first white paper on how local news can be an essential service by working first to meet local information needs. This was developed with the belief that for local news to have a future, it has to be built for people when they truly need information before it is built for people when they are just curious.
As Democracy Fund seeks to support new tools and practices that can expand community engagement in journalism, we wanted to understand the landscape of the field in more detail. We commissioned this paper to help us create a taxonomy of engagement practices. In this paper, we document a broad spectrum of efforts that help position communities at the center of journalism. We understand that each model meets different newsroom goals and community needs. We refer to the full spectrum of ideas presented here as ‘Engaged Journalism.’
Many will remember—some with a touch of heat—the 1990’s movement known as civic (or public) journalism, which called for a rethinking of newsrooms’ relationships with their communities. Is today’s engaged journalism a new chapter of that movement? As someone who edited a newspaper during those earlier years, and who is now working as a senior fellow and consultant with the Democracy Fund, I’d say the short answer is yes – but: Engaged journalism is a much-evolved descendant, born into a radically changed landscape.
We’ve been thinking a great deal about participation design and examples of successful practices for community members to be involved in news reporting, production, and site growth. We’ve been interrogating what modern member participation looks like and who’s doing it well. We detail 25 ways that you can invite members to create journalism with you, using examples of live and recent experiments.
Journalism has little purpose if it is not trusted by the public it is meant to serve, so public engagement and public trust are inseparable in the networked world of digital journalism. Engaged journalists are starting to ask, “How can we help people trust each other?” In addition to representing the public interest, engaged journalism involves the public as true partners, enabling journalism to become complete, more accurate, more trusted, and more meaningful.
How do we make the case for investing in engagement? “Engagement” is an evolving set of practices within journalism, and its impact on attracting, developing, and satisfying audiences has yet to be fully and rigorously documented, particularly by the scholarly community. One entity that is making a strong case for the commercial, as well as the journalistic value of doing engagement work, is Hearken, whose landing page features in bold letters: “Does Hearken Work? Yes.”