The Bureau Local is a people-powered network setting the news agenda and sparking change, from the ground up. Over the past three years we have set out to make sure news is working for everyone and to do so, we’ve been changing the way it’s done. Whether it is austerity or Brexit, health or education, people across the UK experience inequality in their treatment and how their stories are told, if told at all. That’s why we focus our journalism on shining a light on the power, decisions and policies that threaten the public interest of all people across the UK.
In 2020, collaboration in journalism is about way more than sorting through data together or expanding a story’s reach. Now, collaborative journalism means sharing power among journalists, readers and viewers, community partners, scientists, and more — delivering information that centers and addresses people’s voices and needs, together. The pandemic has elevated the need for robust collaborative and local journalism to tackle a story of this size and specificity. But it’s also reinforced the importance of seeding collaborations with equity and respect, recognizing the unequal effects of COVID-19 on our communities.
Since Free Press’ News Voices project launched five years ago, they’ve focused on centering the needs and voices of community members in local news, and organizing to make media coverage more responsive to those it intends to serve. The resource list the ways News Voices hosted several community conversations in both English and Spanish, through digital spaces and conference calls.
Free Press’ News Voices team created a guide to help their community reach out to five folks and ask them a series of questions about what information they need to stay safe, healthy, and connected. The News Voices also relayed these findings to local journalists to help inform media coverage, raise questions to pose to decision-makers, and suggest how to frame stories in a way that will provide value to communities. More on FP’s response to COVID-19.
When we started our Locked Out investigation into the lack of routes out of homelessness, the follow up to our Dying Homeless project, we knew this on paper. But what we did not necessarily understand was the disorienting reality for so many of living like this. The Bureau Local project is a young one, and we are still exploring how journalism in the UK could better serve communities. We want to understand how people who live through the issues at hand can help conceive and shape media narratives, rather than being fodder for them.
Huge datasets that cover vital national issues are coming out of the federal government every day, and within them hide endless numbers of story leads for local journalists. With the proliferation of available data, it’s become common for newsrooms to have access to datasets that contain more story leads than they can meaningfully pursue themselves. Collaborative data journalism allows multiple newsrooms to find and tell those stories, increasing impactful stories told.
In 2015, The Seattle Globalist launched Your City. Your Story. Your Voice., a community media workshop series that served as a deconstructed journalism school for Seattle’s international communities. While it has always been their mission to elevate diverse voices, the daily online publication provided a formal orientation and introductory training to new writers and visual journalists.
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.
The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) launched the G20 Street Level project to cover the 2010 G20 Summit in Toronto. The CBC invited its audience to document and report on the summit itself and surrounding events. Communities could report on what they found important and the CBC had quicker response times and wider coverage. Contributors were trained in basic reporting skills and supported throughout the process. Learn more about this project from CBC’s reflections and MediaShift.
The Off/Page Project, a collaboration between the Center for Investigative Reporting (CIR) and Youth Speaks, combines investigative reporting and youth poetry. Journalists from CIR share details of their investigations with youth storytellers and collaborate to write poetry that is both profound performance art and factually accurate reporting. The resulting poetry is then performed publicly, either in-person or through multimedia packages. Learn more about this project from Mashable and Youth Radio.
City Limits, an investigative hyperlocal news source in NYC, created the Art at the Limits series, which actively engaged readers by encouraging them to submit their own stories and artwork highlighting their city experiences. In addition to collecting readers’ art and stories and featuring them on social media, City Limits also created a map of outer borough art galleries where readers could submit their favorite hidden gems.
German investigative journalism non-profit Correctiv conducted a crowd-sourced investigation into the cancellation of classes in Dortmund schools called Unterrichtsausfall (roughly “Class Failure” or “Teaching Failure”). Journalists asked community members involved in the education system to report on class cancellations via an online platform called the Cloud Newsroom. Read the project announcement and project retrospective in German for more.