Cittadini Reattivi is an online Italian crowd-sourced civic journalism project focused on health, the environment, and judicial issues. The project serves those who live in areas affected by pollution. Since founder and editor Rosy Battaglia launched the project in 2013, she has been able to gather user-generated story ideas, some of which led to new journalistic investigations.
In 2015, Free Press launched News Voices after recognizing that community members aren’t often included in the discussions around how communities get news or how journalists could better serve the communities they work in. The program started in New Jersey with World Cafe style listening forums where community members could share their concerns with journalists.
In 2017, The Listening Post Collective, with support from an Omaha based foundation, conducted an Information Ecosystem Assessment in north Omaha, Nebraska. The resulting assessment maps the existing media and information ecosystem and offers examples and suggestions of steps that may improve access to information and news coverage of north Omaha.
In early 2016, San Francisco public radio station KALW started using the engagement tool Hearken to interact with its audience and create relevant stories. The collaborative reporting project, called Hey Area, has yielded about 15 long and 15 short stories so far — all based on ideas generated by audience members.
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).
Verify debuted in 2016 in response to a challenge from WFAA’s corporate parent, TEGNA, to find ways to “truth-test” the news. For Verify, reporter David Schechter and producer/photographer Chance Horner select a topic of public interest (e.g. homeless camps, fracking, the death penalty) and invite a citizen reporter to join them on a “road trip” throughout the reporting process.
As part of a pilot for Challenge for Change, a national media project in Canada, Discourse Media reporter Brielle Morgan organized a series of listening events to discuss the child welfare system in B.C. Morgan highlighted the challenges faced by Indigenous children, but also needed to acknowledge and tackle the community’s deep distrust of the media.
St. Louis Public Radio began its Curious Louis project in late 2015, empowering readers and listeners to ask questions and pairing reporters with question-submitters to track down the answers. STLPR hired Kimberly Springer, who’d previously worked at Michigan Public Radio on another Hearken-powered project, MI Curious, in part to run the project.
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.
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 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.
Public Radio International (PRI) launched the reporting project Global Nation in 2012 to cover the “real-world stories of immigrants in the United States—their challenges, successes and how uneven US immigration laws affect their lives.” PRI then created the Global Nation Exchange to foster discussion between immigrants and help ground editorial decisions in what was most important to them.