This report focuses on what we have learned using Developmental Evaluation with several community engagement projects, two of them in partnership with journalism organizations. In brief, we found that when journalism is at or near the center of focus, it gets in the way of reinventing thriving local communications ecosystems. Innovations are more likely to come by imagining this emerging ecosystem through a broader perspective, one that considers digital, cultural, demographic, and technological shifts while also drawing from traditional elements of journalism.
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 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.
A collaborative relationship between citizen journalists and professional journalists has long been an aspiration for many media scholars. While tensions surrounding professional control are signiﬁcant, scholars also have to consider the structural dynamics of content online and across social media networks, particularly in an era of the corporatized and commercialized Web. The rise of social discovery tools and algorithms is also addressed. This article aims to bring to light these concerns and moves the conversation about citizen journalism forward by proposing a model that identiﬁes the pathway through which news organizations gather, select, package, and disseminate citizen journalism content.
When uttered outside of journalism circles, the word “engagement” means something fairly specific involving rings, love, wedding bells, commitment, and the like. If there’s no pathway for input from your audience to shape the content decisions your newsroom is making, then it’s not audience engagement. Engagement happens when members of the public are responsive to newsrooms, and newsrooms are in turn responsive to members of the public.
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.
Wave after wave of digital innovation has introduced a new set of influences on the public’s news habits. A two-part survey by Pew Research Center, conducted in early 2016 in association with the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, reveals a public that is cautious as it moves into this more complex news environment and discerning in its evaluation of available news sources.
As Ben DeJarnette writes in the kick-off piece to this special series, “There perhaps was no journalistic buzzword more widely discussed in 2015 than ‘engagement.’” The series, writes DeJarnette, was inspired by Experience Engagement, a four-day participatory “un-conference” hosted by Journalism That Matters and the Agora Journalism Center. Over the next two weeks, this series will explore the progress, promise and potential challenges of community engagement in journalism.
This case study of a news company undergoing significant change seeks to offer a deeper understanding of multi-faceted industry upheaval by considering the diffusion of three interdependent yet distinct changes. Findings suggest technological change faces the fewest hurdles, as journalists recognize the need to adapt their practices to newer capabilities. Changes to audience relationships face greater resistance, while responses to changes to the professional culture of journalism remain the most tepid.
Our focus on inclusion is misplaced as long as it fails to change the structures and practices that promote exclusion in the first place. Inclusion is inherently about exclusion. No matter what the particular subject — voting, education, technology, you name it — whenever we talk about the need to include people we implicitly acknowledge that the status quo is exclusive — that there are people who are currently not included in X, Y, or Z, but who could be. That’s the language we use — those of us living comfortably in our own inclusion: “Not included.”