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.
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 order to take a different route in covering climate change and agriculture, MPR News, the news service of Minnesota Public Radio, launched Feeding the Future, an engagement journalism project set on informing its audience members and identifying solutions to a rapidly changing climate.
Community in Unity, created by Alaska Public Media, invites residents of Alaska to sit down and participate in face-to-face discussions in order to tackle relevant community issues. Recorded for radio broadcast, the group conversations have included topics ranging from homelessness to race and identity with the hopes of getting people who wouldn’t normally meet together.
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.
The Seattle Times launched Under Our Skin, a multimedia project aimed at fostering meaningful and honest conversations about race in the region. The site features video interviews with 18 community members from diverse backgrounds reflecting on and talking about a set of terms commonly used in conversations and debates about race.
British Columbia-based Discourse Media sent reporter Trevor Jang on a listening road trip to Northern BC to report on the contentious Pacific Northwest liquefied natural gas (LNG) pipeline project. He facilitated online discussions through a Facebook group, as well as in-person meetings, in an attempt to prompt dialogue and better understand a complicated issue.
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.
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.
In March 2017, Seattle’s The Evergrey took about 20 Seattleites to rural Oregon to spend an afternoon in conversation with 16 residents of Sherman County. The project’s name, Melting Mountains, was coined by Sandy Macnab, a just-retired Sherman and Wasco County agricultural agent who planned the event with Anika Anand and Mónica Guzmán, co-founders of The Evergrey.
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.