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.
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.
Jersey Shore Hurricane News began in 2011 as a Facebook community page dedicated to sharing news about Hurricane Irene and Superstorm Sandy. JSHN joined the Listening Post Collective and launched several engagement projects to deepen its connection with the community, such as setting up audio listening and comment recording booths and hosting a Facebook Live Q&A with a mayor.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.