Last year we embarked on a process to define what impact means for a people-centered, community news lab. As our young media start-up matures, remembering why we do this work is as important as building models for the future of local media. That’s why City Bureau’s first Impact Report begins with a story—a historical guiding star from our home on Chicago’s South Side—the story of the Pullman Porters.
In the most exhaustive study of its kind to date, MobLab and 13 other organisations heard from more than 500 social change practitioners and leaders across the global non-profit world. How can organisations measure the depth and value of people’s engagement and participation? What indicators can you use to assess grassroots power building, organising, and volunteer initiatives? Through research, consultations, and a global survey, the resulting report offers a baseline for how organisations are measuring people power today, and reveals where more attention is needed to accurately reflect the power of people coming together for change.
How can journalists surface community perspectives through doing, not just talking? CapRadio in Sacramento, Calif., collaborated with an elementary school to host an activity-based listening event to find out. Here’s what happened.
What does engaged journalism mean to journalists? What are the common practices that can be thought of as engaged journalism? What is engaged journalism? We — the News Integrity Initiative and Impact Architects — attempted to surface some answers with a survey administered among journalists in August and September 2018. The survey results, when taken together with results from a survey conducted by Hearken and research done by EJC, provide insights into the what, the why, the who, and the how of engaged journalism.
This project started with a small seed of an idea, planted by CapRadio Managing Editor Linnea Edmeier, who has lived in Sutter Creek for most of her life. She had noticed people dying by suicide often, but had never heard anyone discuss it at length. She proposed a project to find out if people who live in Amador County are at heightened risk for suicide, and whether leaders there were do anything to solve it.
This report focuses on what we have learned using Developmental Evaluation with several community engagement projects, two of them in partnership with journalism organizations. In brief, we found that when journalism is at or near the center of focus, it gets in the way of reinventing thriving local communications ecosystems. Innovations are more likely to come by imagining this emerging ecosystem through a broader perspective, one that considers digital, cultural, demographic, and technological shifts while also drawing from traditional elements of journalism.
Impact Tracker is an open-source tool from the Center for Investigative Reporting (CIR). It’s an interactive database that helps manage records of real-world change associated with a story, project or event. The entered dataset is filterable and searchable to track impact by topic or time period. Here’s a handy guide in how to use the tool, a write-up from journalism.co.uk, and download the open-source version.
Abstract: In recent years, audience analytics (systems that collect and analyze digital trace data from users) and audience metrics (quantified measures of how content is consumed and interacted with) have gained currency within newsrooms, enabling them to influence editorial news workers‘ constructions of their audiences and, consequently, the shapes that news products take. The extent of that influence, however, remains largely unknown, with few studies examining the direct relationship between metrics and news content. The present work addresses this shortcoming.
Harvis is a mobile web tool for collecting live contributions from audience members. It creates the capacity for users to react in real-time to events and measure their engagement and responses and have conversations around those reactions. Harvis’ public reveal was at the Tribeca Film Institute’s Interactive Day 2014. Here’s a write-up from The New York Times, Fast Company, and A Fourth Act.
Developmental evaluation (DE) offers a powerful approach to monitoring and supporting social innovations by working in partnership with program decision-makers. In this book, Michael Quinn Patton illustrates how DE can be used for a range of purposes: ongoing program development, adapting effective principles of practice to local contexts, generating innovations and taking them to scale, and facilitating rapid response in crisis situations. Here’s a quick explanation of developmental evaluation, and check out how DE was applied to the Elevate Engagement conference and JTM’s Civic Communication report.
This book describes a wildly popular approach to organizational change that dramatically improves performance by encouraging people to study, discuss, learn from, and build on what’s working, rather than simply trying to fix what’s not. Whitney and Trosten-Bloom use examples from many different types of organizations to illustrate Appreciative Inquiry (AI) in action. The authors have included a new chapter on the community applications of Appreciative Inquiry, as well as a host of new examples and other enhancements. More on AI here, here, and here.