How WFAA-TV is Working with Viewers to “Truth-Test” the News

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.

How the Agora Journalism Center Supported a City-Wide Conversation on Housing

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.

How City Bureau Recruited Volunteer Coders to Collaboratively Build Engagement Tools

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 Media and Marginalized Publics

Curious City, a series produced by WBEZ Chicago Public Media, invites listeners to participate in the reporting process. Using the Hearken digital engagement platform, listeners ask and then vote on questions that are turned into radio stories. Over a year, Curious City attempted to engage residents of Chicago areas that traditionally had few public radio listeners, mostly stigmatized African-American and Latinx neighborhoods, to participate via face-to-face outreach, outreach via community partners, or social media marketing. Using a communication infrastructure theory framework, this study draws from observations and 25 interviews with journalists, participating audience members, residents of targeted outreach areas, and partner organizations to examine best practices to combine digital and offline strategies, and the importance of pre- and post-broadcast engagement.

How They Did It: ProPublica’s Engagement Journalism

ProPublica is well aware of the benefits — and impact — of crowdsourcing. It landed a story about US President Donald Trump having sold condominiums to his own son at big discounts, avoiding the usual taxes, because a reader tipped them off after digging into Trump disclosure documents that ProPublica shared. GIJN’s program coordinator Eunice Au spoke with ProPublica’s deputy editor of engagement, Terry Parris Jr., about the nonprofit newsroom’s strategy in encouraging reader and community participation in its stories. Another view from MediaShift.