Free Press’ News Voices team created a guide to help their community reach out to five folks and ask them a series of questions about what information they need to stay safe, healthy, and connected. The News Voices also relayed these findings to local journalists to help inform media coverage, raise questions to pose to decision-makers, and suggest how to frame stories in a way that will provide value to communities. More on FP’s response to COVID-19.
Throughout 2016, the Center for Michigan’s engagement team led in-person discussions and phone polls about public trust in state government as part of their public engagement campaign, Fractured Trust: Lost Faith in State Government, and How to Restore It. More than 5,000 Michigan residents participated, and the report was distributed to every state legislator and member of the governor’s team. Learn more here, here, here, and here.
In 2014, Carolina Public Press launched News Exchange, a series of free public meetings to invite communities to provide direct feedback on their local reporting efforts. Community members made suggestions for improvements, pitched story ideas, and allowed community members to discuss important issues with each other. Since its launch, the News Exchange has hosted dozens of events in several North Carolina counties. Learn more at Mountain Xpress and MediaShift.
The Off/Page Project, a collaboration between the Center for Investigative Reporting (CIR) and Youth Speaks, combines investigative reporting and youth poetry. Journalists from CIR share details of their investigations with youth storytellers and collaborate to write poetry that is both profound performance art and factually accurate reporting. The resulting poetry is then performed publicly, either in-person or through multimedia packages. Learn more about this project from Mashable and Youth Radio.
City Limits, an investigative hyperlocal news source in NYC, created the Art at the Limits series, which actively engaged readers by encouraging them to submit their own stories and artwork highlighting their city experiences. In addition to collecting readers’ art and stories and featuring them on social media, City Limits also created a map of outer borough art galleries where readers could submit their favorite hidden gems.
ZoneIn is a City Limits initiative designed to cover the de Blasio City Limits, an investigative hyperlocal news source in NYC, created the public information and civic engagement project ZoneIn in YEAR to cover the de Blasio administration’s proposed re-zoning plan. ZoneIn has since grown into the special project Mapping the Future.
CivicStory partnered with Summit Greenfaith Circle, an organization that includes six local houses of worship, to convene Summit’s Sustainable Future, a public event to help launch the “public input” phase of the City of Summit’s 10-year Master Plan re-examination. 60 people attended the event, which included a Q&A and lively post-event discussions; a video of the event aired over a several-week period. Learn more from the city’s 10-year master plan and a public forum.
Drawn from a report by the Institute for Nonprofit News and Dot Connector Studio. Listening Post Macon facilitated a weekly conversation on local issues through text messages that delivered a mix of news and questions designed to engage residents. Multiple stories came directly from community tips, including a story about a mother teaching her children to use guns because her child was shot and killed walking to the gas station. Learn more.
In 2017, the Honolulu Civil Beat launched “Office Hours” on Facebook Live, where journalists held real-time conversations on local and international news with livestream participants. These sessions drew 2,000-4,000 views on average, with some drawing as many as 24,000 views. Civil Beat’s best sessions happened when they left their office and responded to questions and comments from their viewers. Watch past sessions or read more.
Drawn from a report by the Institute for Nonprofit News and Dot Connector Studio. IowaWatch’s 2016 College Media project, Making Boundaries, brought together 14 students to investigate efforts to limit speech on Iowa college campuses. The event was livestreamed on the bookstore’s weekly program, featured in a report on Iowa Watch’s 20-station network, and written up in related news stories at other Iowa news outlets.
Jersey Shore Hurricane News began in 2011 as a Facebook community page dedicated to sharing news about Hurricane Irene and Superstorm Sandy. JSHN joined the Listening Post Collective and launched several engagement projects to deepen its connection with the community, such as setting up audio listening and comment recording booths and hosting a Facebook Live Q&A with a mayor.
Drawn from a report by the Institute for Nonprofit News and Dot Connector Studio. The Lens holds regular morning coffee chats at its office and happy hours at local bars. There’s no formal programming; rather, engaged readers and members freely discuss what The Lens is and isn’t covering with reporters. These face-to-face discussions have built trust and provided The Lens with some of its best news tips.