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.
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 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.
Free Press created a toolkit designed to show newsrooms how they go about doing the engagement they do at Free Press. It’s focused on face-to-face engagement. Fiona Morgan explored how to make it even better.
Today’s talk with Jackie Haim, Ashley Alvarado, and Joy Mayer was about practicing internally the engagement we say we want to do externally. It was both about teaching our newsrooms about engagement and also about using the tools of engagement within our newsrooms.
The Listening Post Collective provides journalists, newsroom leaders, and non-profits tools and advice to create meaningful conversations with their communities. Whether you are a journalist, media outlet or civil society group, these steps will get you into a flow of listening to your community, creating stories that resonate, and fostering an ongoing conversation with people. Learn more about the Listening Post Collective from Poynter, MediaShift, and journalism.co.uk.