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, after Donald Trump proposed a ban that would prevent Muslims from entering the U.S., KUOW radio station Executive Producer of Community Engagement, Ross Reynolds, wondered how he could provide people with the opportunity to learn about communities they may know nothing about. The answer he reached was the “Ask A…” project, a series of in-person events.
Gather is a hands-on guidebook for all convening designers and social change leaders who want to create convenings that tap into a group’s collective intelligence and make substantial progress on a shared challenge. It provides simple frameworks for the questions that are often ignored: whether convening is the right tool to use to advance a strategic agenda, and how a convening can be used to achieve a specific purpose. It then helps readers understand how to customize the design to fit that purpose, laying out a clear series of steps for what is a naturally chaotic workflow.
We produced The View From Here: Place And Privilege, a 10-part podcast, hourlong radio documentary and online community voice platform. To carry the conversation deeper into the community, CapRadio collaborated with community partners to co-host a series of Story Circles.
Spaceship Media and other outlets are experimenting with ways to bridge the political divides in the U.S. Other efforts include a new StoryCorps feature with intimate conversations between political opposites and a Reddit page at The Seattle Times that ran with a series on race called “Under Our Skin.” Facebook, where Russia-financed vitriol helped to inflame hatred before the 2016 election, hosts issue pages moderated by journalists on topics such as health care, and hyperlocal discussion groups about schools and town elections run by citizen volunteers.
What’s possible when the public and journalists engage to support communities to thrive? Engagement is about authentic connections, valuing people, and mutual exchanges so that what’s best for individuals and the community as a whole emerges. With both journalists and other community members present at Experience Engagement, some conversations also pointed towards a communications ecosystem that supports the civic health of communities. Beyond journalism, as we know it, this civic communications ecosystem would provide robust information, feedback, inclusive dialogue, strategy and action for serving community goals. Read more of this from co-author Peggy Holman.
Following a surge of populist movements in Europe, the need to engage with the public felt acute. German news organization ZEIT Online wondered, “Could someone develop a dating platform for political debates?” To find out, ZEIT Online launched a project called Germany Talks.
After the 2016 election, Colorado Public Radio (CPR) reporters wanted to know how they could help bridge conversation across party lines in an increasingly polarized political climate. So in May, CPR brought together a politically and ethnically diverse group of listeners to share a meal and engage in conversation. The dinner series, now dubbed Breaking Bread.
Civil Beat’s Civil Café series convenes influencers and knowledge experts to debate and discuss important Hawaii issues in front of an active and engaged audience. Most discussions are moderated by a Civil Beat editor or reporter, and cover timely and topical issues complementary to Civil Beat reporting like climate change, legislative issues, and economic welfare.