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.
Bitch Media tested whether engagement platform Hearken improved engagement and/or increased membership among users. During the “Turning Readers Into Funders” experiment, Bitch Media found that Hearken-prompted content was 125% more engaging than non-Hearken prompted content. Learn more from Hearken’s project review and their ONA17 session.
Story Map is a mapping tool that uses in-story geocode integration to highlight the direct geographic relevance of news coverage. The Austin Monitor aimed to use the tool to increase site traffic and turn readers into subscribers. Though subscribers didn’t increase, visitors spent significantly more time on the site. Learn more about this project from INN and NiemanLabs.
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. Current has initiated many engagement projects, such as The Pub, a podcast on public media’s mission, ethics, people, strategy, and future, and #IAmPublicMedia, an initiative to share stories of people working in the field. Current has held live podcast broadcasts, which attract 30-70 people per event and have helped grow the listenership to over 10,000 listens per month.
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. San Diego-based inewsource developed the Spotlight Club to generate enthusiasm and support for its work. Their first event was a discussion on the importance of investigative journalism with “real” Spotlight editor at The Boston Globe, Walter “Robby” Robinson.