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.
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.
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.
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.