Jennifer Brandel wanted to know: what would happen if the public was brought in to the editorial process? As an independent producer and reporter at WBEZ in Chicago, the question had weighed on her, and in 2012 she founded Curious City through an initiative with the Association of Independents in Radio (AIR).
In 2015 the business website 24/7 Wall St. released a report that ranked Peoria, Illinois, as one of the 10 worst cities to live in for African Americans in the United States. Following the report, the Journal Star newsroom of Peoria launched City of Disparity, a year-long reporting project that examined the city’s disparities.
In 2016, Chicago-based civic journalism lab City Bureau started its Documenters program, which pays and equips community members to document public meetings and civic events in the city. As the program grew, they teamed up with ProPublica Illinois and volunteer coders to “scrape” the web for public meeting listings and populate an events calendar usable by journalists and citizens alike.
Sarah Alvarez launched Outlier Media in 2017 to serve the needs of low-income news consumers in Detroit. Using SMS and Facebook messenger, Detroit residents can input any address in the city and receive free rental information about the home, including its most recent inspection data, any back taxes owed, and the name of the owner.
Stories of Atlantic City was created to shed light on marginalized communities and individuals while building a collaborative space for journalists and residents to work together.
In October 2017, Vox launched a year-long crowdsourcing project to collect readers’ emergency room bills and bring more transparency to these costs. At the time of producing this case study, Vox has collected more than 1,500 bills since launching the project and produced multiple stories.
Open:Housing is a platform, a network, and a set of strategies aimed at strengthening the information ecosystem that supports civic engagement around housing issues. Journalists, housing advocates and experts, and Portland residents came together with a shared interest: to create inclusive, informed public conversations that drive solutions to the Portland region’s housing crisis.
In 2019, the year-long Criminalizing Disability project investigated special education in New Mexico. One of the four most common experiences parents described was the restraint and seclusion of disabled students within the Albuquerque School District.
NBC Left Field is a short documentary unit established by NBC News in 2017. The project team set out to create a number of new series geared towards social media platforms and bridge the gap between audiences and journalists. One of these series, Tag, strives to engage with its viewers and create loyal followers by crowdsourcing their video topics.