Off the Bus: Citizens Reporting on Elections

Off the Bus was a citizen journalism reporting project covering the 2008 and 2012 elections (a collaboration between the Huffington Post and NewAssignment at New York University’s Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute). The project connected over 12,000 citizen journalists with Huffington Post staffers to cover the election in ways traditional media couldn’t. Professional journalists acted as guides, and citizen journalists were given the tools to publish content they created.

Ghost Boat

In June 2014, 243 refugees fled Libya on a boat bound for Italy. The boat never arrived. In 2015, Medium launched the Ghost Boat project, a crowdsourced “hackathon” effort to find out what happened. The cornerstone of the Ghost Boat project is a website where investigative journalist Eric Reidy posts in-depth articles documenting the search. Interested contributors are given guides and a repository of information gathered so far. The investigation was suspended in December 2016 pending additional leads. Learn more.

Bay State Ballot Question Hackathon

Drawn from a report by the Institute for Nonprofit News and Dot Connector Studio. The New England Center for Investigative Reporting held a series of community journalism hackathons focused on campaign contributions for four state ballot items. 65 people came to first hackathon, where they tested an app that allowed them to scour campaign contributions. The study of state contributions data revealed newsworthy nuggets, producing a series of stories for the NECIR’s The Eye and WGBH.

Right to Know

Drawn from a report by the Institute for Nonprofit News and Dot Connector Studio. The New Hampshire Center for Public Interest Journalism held a “Right to Know” event in March 2017 to educate the public on what rights they have to public records. The event connected right-to-know advocates and attorneys with citizens and reporters who were eager to know more about the government or had experienced frustration obtaining public records. The event featured one-on-one sessions, a detailed slide show, and a public forum for Q&A. More here, here, and here.

Public Press Live

Drawn from a report by the Institute for Nonprofit News and Dot Connector Studio. San Francisco Public Press launched Public Press Live to present and host discussions with 40 community groups to raise its profile, build trust with the community, and expand membership. Topics for  presentations were developed in concert with leaders of local groups and ranged from sea level rise in the Bay Area to the role of local media organizations in the fake news era. Public Press reporters are currently working on a series of stories inspired by a story tips generated at recent Public Press Live events. More here, here, and here.

Framed by WDET

Drawn from a report by the Institute for Nonprofit News and Dot Connector Studio. Framed by WDET is an audio-visual series that pairs storytelling and photography together to tell the stories of ethnic and cultural communities throughout the Detroit metro area. WDET forms teams consisting of local photographers and award-winning storytellers to document these stories, and then shares the results in a series of audio-visual installations that migrate throughout southeast Michigan.

Calls from Home

For over ten years, Kentucky-based Mountain Community Radio (WMMT) has been producing the weekly radio program Calls from Home, which sends messages and call-outs to prison inmates in Central Appalachia. WMMT records the messages (often from friends and family members), and then broadcasts them on air for prisoners listening in. Calls from Home has been featured by WNYC, West Virginia Public Broadcasting, The American Prospect, Here & Now, and others.

Hurricane Irma Map

Launched by The New Tropic in collaboration with WLRN and The Miami Foundation, the Hurricane Irma Map is a crowd-sourced mapping tool that allows users to search for and add information about resources and impacts in their area. Before Hurricane Irma, the content primarily focused on storm preparation resources. During and after the hurricane, the tool refocused on reports of storm damage and environmental hazards, as well as where to find or participate in relief operations. Learn more in “The New Tropic teamed up with an NPR station to help Florida residents find shelter from Hurricane Irma (and survey the damage after) by Ren LaForme (Poynter; September 7, 2017).

Funding for Engagement Work

Are you looking for outside funding for your engagement work? In this 30-minute video chat, we’ll talk to Molly de Aguiar of the News Integrity Initiative, Paul Waters of Democracy Fund, and Karen Rundlet of the Knight Foundation who represent organizations that offer funding to support journalism. What do they wish journalists knew about how to find funding?