Engaged journalists know there’s value to good participation in and moderation of online comments. But what does that actually look like? In this 30-minute video chat with Teddy Amenabar of The Washington Post, Elizabeth Dunbar of Minnesota Public Radio, and Andrew Losowsky of The Coral Project, we’ll talk about some benefits of investing in comments. Then we’ll look at specific comment threads and do some live brainstorming about how journalists could/should/might participate in them.
Throughout 2016, the Center for Michigan’s engagement team led in-person discussions and phone polls about public trust in state government as part of their public engagement campaign, Fractured Trust: Lost Faith in State Government, and How to Restore It. More than 5,000 Michigan residents participated, and the report was distributed to every state legislator and member of the governor’s team. Learn more here, here, here, and here.
ZoneIn is a City Limits initiative designed to cover the de Blasio City Limits, an investigative hyperlocal news source in NYC, created the public information and civic engagement project ZoneIn in YEAR to cover the de Blasio administration’s proposed re-zoning plan. ZoneIn has since grown into the special project Mapping the Future.
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.
In 2017, the Honolulu Civil Beat launched “Office Hours” on Facebook Live, where journalists held real-time conversations on local and international news with livestream participants. These sessions drew 2,000-4,000 views on average, with some drawing as many as 24,000 views. Civil Beat’s best sessions happened when they left their office and responded to questions and comments from their viewers. Watch past sessions or read more.
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. Along with Albuquerque’s NPR and PBS stations, New Mexico In Depth is part of People, Power & Democracy, which was an annual multimedia collaboration covering New Mexico’s state government that held annual public community engagement events. The 2017 event attracted a diverse group of approximately 40 people who discussed current government problems, ways to improve them, and suggestions for future reporting. The event was also live-streamed. More here, here, and here.
Drawn from a report by the Institute for Nonprofit News and Dot Connector Studio. Oklahoma Watch hosts an annual public forum series called “Oklahoma Watch-Out.” The series includes moderated discussions with newsmakers and prominent elected officials on topics such as public health, education, and criminal justice. Events typically attract 60-80 people, and videos of the discussions are posted on oklahomawatch.org. Public radio and TV stations also feature the events as part of their regular programming. More here, here, and here.
This summary is from a report by the Institute for Nonprofit News and Dot Connectors Studio. Texas-based community newspaper Rains County Leader recently launched a new web platform called followtheleader.today. The platform is a blog-forum hybrid that allows readers to comment and interact with stories published by Rains County Leader staff as well as interact with one another. The objective behind the new platform is to allow the newspaper to stay in direct communication with the community it serves.
“Democracy Dies in Dankness.” That’s the tagline of the Washington Post‘s official Reddit profile. The tagline mirrors the Post’s informal, even irreverant, approach on Reddit. Managed by social media editor and long-time Reddit user Gene Park, the Post’s Reddit profile participates on the platform just like any other Reddit user, engaging in humorous banter, posting memes, and playing it straight with other users. This approach has helped the Post build meaningful relationships with Reddit users, who have jumped at opportunities to ask questions during Ask Me Anything (AMA) sessions with reporters and learn about the Post’s reporting process.
With entries going as far back as 2006, “How I Work” is one of the longest-running columns on the Gizmodo Media (née Gawker Media) online publication Lifehacker. The premise of the column is simple: First, Lifehacker asks its readers to share whose workflows and processes they’re interested in learning about. Then, they reach out to the people suggested in those recommendations and profile them and their workflows on the site. (Here’s an example.) The objective of the column is to give readers insights into the successful work habits of others in the hopes of spreading inspiration and best practices.