“Democracy Dies in Dankness.” That’s the tagline of the Washington Post‘s official Reddit profile. The tagline mirrors the Post’s informal, even irreverant, approach on Reddit. Managed by social media editor and long-time Reddit user Gene Park, the Post’s Reddit profile participates on the platform just like any other Reddit user, engaging in humorous banter, posting memes, and playing it straight with other users. This approach has helped the Post build meaningful relationships with Reddit users, who have jumped at opportunities to ask questions during Ask Me Anything (AMA) sessions with reporters and learn about the Post’s reporting process.
In 2016, the University of Minnesota Duluth launched One River, Many Stories, a collaborative storytelling project focused on the St. Louis River region. The project collected stories from a variety of sources and topics ranged greatly, from Native American heritage to land rights and water usage. The project collected 47 different stories from 20 different contributors from around the region. Stories collected by the project were published and marked on an interactive map of the region, as well as being shared and promoted across social media. Read more in their final report (PDF).
Using funding from a successful 2018 Kickstarter campaign and support from block-chain journalism initiative Civil, the Colorado Sun is an ad-free new project. The model attempts to decentralize ownership of the newsroom in order to avoid a repeat of the recent hedge fund-mandate layoffs at the competing Denver Sun—layoffs that provided the staffing and ideological genesis for the Colorado Sun, as career journalists who had lost their jobs sought out new employment and a better, more sustainable way of reporting the news. More here, here and here.
The Arizona Center for Investigative Reporting (AZCIR) developed what is now known as the “AZ Dark Money Bot,” or @AZDarkMoneyBot, a Twitter bot that enables the automation of “dark money” expenditure reporting. The Bot’s tweets include names of the groups, candidates receiving dark money, and campaign spending.
We chatted about tools, strategies and workflows that help us make sense of data and share its implications with our organizations. Join the discussion with Elizabeth Wolfe of Chicago Tribune, Erica Smith of Virginian Pilot., and Joy Mayer of Gather.
A lot of us do most of our engagement work online. Is there room within digital spaces for building empathy and hosting meaningful interactions? Join the discussion with Eve Pearlman of Spaceship Media, Jeremy Hay of Spaceship Media, Halle Stockton of Public Source, and Nancy White of Full Circle.
Jennifer Brandel wanted to know: what would happen if the public was brought in to the editorial process? As an independent producer and reporter at WBEZ in Chicago, the question had weighed on her, and in 2012 she founded Curious City through an initiative with the Association of Independents in Radio (AIR).
We chatted about engagement tools. Poynter’s Ren LaForme hosted.
Sarah Alvarez launched Outlier Media in 2017 to serve the needs of low-income news consumers in Detroit. Using SMS and Facebook messenger, Detroit residents can input any address in the city and receive free rental information about the home, including its most recent inspection data, any back taxes owed, and the name of the owner.
In 2016, Chicago-based civic journalism lab City Bureau started its Documenters program, which pays and equips community members to document public meetings and civic events in the city. As the program grew, they teamed up with ProPublica Illinois and volunteer coders to “scrape” the web for public meeting listings and populate an events calendar usable by journalists and citizens alike.
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.
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.