Civic Media Practice

In a context of increasing distrust in institutions, including government, media and news, there is need to understand how civic innovators are using media and technology to counter these trends. Based on over 40 interviews with practitioners, this report identifies “civic media practice” as media and technology used to facilitate democratic process. It focuses specifically on those practitioners using media tools to form relationships and build trust – a practice that sometimes runs counter to the apparent needs of organizations to enhance efficiency through technology. This report identifies civic media practice as a direct response to the crisis of distrust and describes the negotiation of values that takes place as media is designed and deployed in organizations.

Can Dialogue Journalism Engage Audiences, Foster Civil Discourse, and Increase Trust in the Media?

Spaceship Media and other outlets are experimenting with ways to bridge the political divides in the U.S. Other efforts include a new StoryCorps feature with intimate conversations between political opposites and a Reddit page at The Seattle Times that ran with a series on race called “Under Our Skin.” Facebook, where Russia-financed vitriol helped to inflame hatred before the 2016 election, hosts issue pages moderated by journalists on topics such as health care, and hyperlocal discussion groups about schools and town elections run by citizen volunteers.

Start Earning Trust

Newsrooms need to tell a consistent, repetitive story about what motivates their work, the range of information and stories they offer, what sets them apart, who they are, how they operate and how people can reach them. Telling that story should be a constant drumbeat — part of the rhythm of our work as journalists. So, how do you get started? You can start by talking about your mission, discussing your ethics and asking for feedback.