Systems Thinking For Journalists

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.

Tips for Hosting Online Conversation

Looking for an alternative to face-to-face events in the time of Coronavirus? People have been experimenting with synchronous online convening for years and the tools continue to improve. Here are some suggestions based on experiences of the Journalism That Matters team.

Mapping Information Ecosystems to Serve Local News Needs

A media desert is geographic area that is lacking access to fresh, local news and information. This condition may be a result of a lack of content, access, language barriers and other issues. This guide focuses on asset-based framework, digital ethnography, and geomapping tools to address ecosystems that are lacking news and information, and how to appropriately assess and fulfill local news needs.

Public Media and Marginalized Publics

Curious City, a series produced by WBEZ Chicago Public Media, invites listeners to participate in the reporting process. Using the Hearken digital engagement platform, listeners ask and then vote on questions that are turned into radio stories. Over a year, Curious City attempted to engage residents of Chicago areas that traditionally had few public radio listeners, mostly stigmatized African-American and Latinx neighborhoods, to participate via face-to-face outreach, outreach via community partners, or social media marketing. Using a communication infrastructure theory framework, this study draws from observations and 25 interviews with journalists, participating audience members, residents of targeted outreach areas, and partner organizations to examine best practices to combine digital and offline strategies, and the importance of pre- and post-broadcast engagement.

Engaging Buttons Plugin

The Engaging Buttons Plugin is a WordPress plugin that allows WordPress admins to add a variety of reaction buttons to their content, from the traditional “Like” to options like “Respect” and more. This plugin was developed because researchers at the Engaging News Project found that people were far more likely to interact with content, particularly important but not positive content, if they had more options available to them than just “Liking” something.

Diversity Toolbox

The Rainbow Sourcebook and Diversity Toolbox is a database searchable by common news topics that feature qualified experts from demographic groups underrepresented in the news. The toolbox also offers essays and links to resources that can help broaden the perspectives and voices in journalistic organizations and projects.

DocumentCloud

DocumentCloud is a document storage and research platform for journalists working with primary sources. DocumentCloud includes services such as passage highlighting, notations/citations, and personal notes. Users can also upload documents to the platform and see content related to that document. Contextual information is generated based on key items found in the uploaded document. Additionally, users may share their work publicly at any time, adding their content to the platform repository.

Use Forms To Find Great Stories

Surveys and forms can be valuable tools in the journalistic toolbox. If you use form tools well, they can help you engage with your audience to find new leads, information, skills, ideas. If you use them thoughtlessly, they can be a waste of your energy and frustrating experience for everyone, including the people you want to respond to them. Earlier in our work, we experimented with a product called Ask, a form-based tool. While Ask isn’t in active development anymore, we learned a lot in our research about how to use forms effectively.

Impact Tracker

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.

NLGJA Journalists Toolbox

The NLGJA Journalists Toolbox is designed primarily to assist journalists who don’t normally cover the LGBTQ community. The advice here is drawn from outside media experts and our own members who are professional journalists for both mainstream media and the LGBTQ press. We also offer story ideas and new ways of thinking for reporters who are experienced in covering LGBTQ life.