In this slightly different Lightning Chat, Andrew DeVigal talked with Andrea Wenzel about her book “Community-Centered Journalism: Engaging People, Exploring Solutions, and Building Trust.” In the book, Andrea “models new practices of community-centered journalism that build trust across boundaries of politics, race, and class, and prioritize solutions while engaging the full range of local stakeholders.”
Contemporary journalism faces a crisis of trust that threatens the institution and may imperil democracy itself. Critics and experts see a renewed commitment to local journalism as one solution. But a lasting restoration of public trust requires a different kind of local journalism than is often imagined, one that engages with and shares power among all sectors of a community.
The Solutions Journalism Network offers 16 steps for innovative newsrooms to navigate a better future for themselves and their communities. A better, more sustainable path might be easier than you might think. One key is to foster deeper relationships with your audiences as partners rather than customers/audience members. Another is to write about how communities are rebuilding and reviving just as well as you cover breakdowns, problems and collapse.
Journalism + Design has developed a suite of systems thinking tools for journalists to focus their reporting on the underlying causes of complex problems: the policies, power dynamics, and beliefs fueling systems that actively harm, marginalize, or benefit specific people. By expanding our lens beyond individual events and outcomes, journalists can hold entire systems accountable, rather than just the symptoms they produce.
What if journalists covered controversial issues differently — based on how humans actually behave when they are polarized and suspicious? As politicians have become more polarized, we have increasingly allowed ourselves to be used by demagogues on both sides of the aisle, amplifying their insults instead of exposing their motivations. But what else can we do with conflict, besides letting it sit? We’re not advocates, and we shouldn’t be in the business of making people feel better. Our mission is not a diplomatic one. So what options does that leave?
What are the barriers? Why is it so dang hard to just “do engagement already?” We had our hunches, but we commissioned a study to really find out. We spoke with 100 people who are already bought in — who desperately want to spend their time doing better engagement — to learn what (and who) stands in their way. Engagement is a process, not a product. The solution must start with mindset and culture change, not software
In October 2017, Vox launched a year-long crowdsourcing project to collect readers’ emergency room bills and bring more transparency to these costs. At the time of producing this case study, Vox has collected more than 1,500 bills since launching the project and produced multiple stories.
Cittadini Reattivi is an online Italian crowd-sourced civic journalism project focused on health, the environment, and judicial issues. The project serves those who live in areas affected by pollution. Since founder and editor Rosy Battaglia launched the project in 2013, she has been able to gather user-generated story ideas, some of which led to new journalistic investigations.
The Jefferson Center launched Your Voice Ohio in 2017, the second phase of an ongoing collaborative effort to help Ohio newsrooms better understand and respond to the needs of their communities. We’re looking at a variety of methods of engagement — both in-person and online — to find the most effective and sustainable approaches for local newsrooms. Here’s what we’ve learned so far (as of 2018).
The Dallas Morning News has created a Facebook Group for its subscribers. It’s a way to grow loyalty among those who pay for its journalism and give them more direct access to the paper’s journalists and editors. Members of the group also get exclusive benefits such as tickets to events and other perks … In this issue, we’re looking at how the Morning News built its subscriber group and how the newsroom and marketing departments collaborate to run it.
What if readers, not just sources, were an active part of the news reporting process? A new group of journalists is exploring that possibility in an effort to deepen their reporting and build community relationships. ‘Engagement reporters’ are journalists who combine the power of community engagement with traditional news reporting to do journalism that aims to authentically serve the community and reflect their interests and needs. They’re not audience engagement editors and they’re not news reporters — they live in both worlds.