The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) launched the G20 Street Level project to cover the 2010 G20 Summit in Toronto. The CBC invited its audience to document and report on the summit itself and surrounding events. Communities could report on what they found important and the CBC had quicker response times and wider coverage. Contributors were trained in basic reporting skills and supported throughout the process. Learn more about this project from CBC’s reflections and MediaShift.
Topic: User-Generated Content
The Off/Page Project, a collaboration between the Center for Investigative Reporting (CIR) and Youth Speaks, combines investigative reporting and youth poetry. Journalists from CIR share details of their investigations with youth storytellers and collaborate to write poetry that is both profound performance art and factually accurate reporting. The resulting poetry is then performed publicly, either in-person or through multimedia packages. Learn more about this project from Mashable and Youth Radio.
Art at the Limits
City Limits, an investigative hyperlocal news source in NYC, created the Art at the Limits series, which actively engaged readers by encouraging them to submit their own stories and artwork highlighting their city experiences. In addition to collecting readers’ art and stories and featuring them on social media, City Limits also created a map of outer borough art galleries where readers could submit their favorite hidden gems.
Off the Bus: Citizens Reporting on Elections
Off the Bus was a citizen journalism reporting project covering the 2008 and 2012 elections (a collaboration between the Huffington Post and NewAssignment at New York University’s Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute). The project connected over 12,000 citizen journalists with Huffington Post staffers to cover the election in ways traditional media couldn’t. Professional journalists acted as guides, and citizen journalists were given the tools to publish content they created.
Jersey Shore Hurricane News
Jersey Shore Hurricane News began in 2011 as a Facebook community page dedicated to sharing news about Hurricane Irene and Superstorm Sandy. JSHN joined the Listening Post Collective and launched several engagement projects to deepen its connection with the community, such as setting up audio listening and comment recording booths and hosting a Facebook Live Q&A with a mayor.
In June 2014, 243 refugees fled Libya on a boat bound for Italy. The boat never arrived. In 2015, Medium launched the Ghost Boat project, a crowdsourced “hackathon” effort to find out what happened. The cornerstone of the Ghost Boat project is a website where investigative journalist Eric Reidy posts in-depth articles documenting the search. Interested contributors are given guides and a repository of information gathered so far. The investigation was suspended in December 2016 pending additional leads. Learn more.
Bay State Ballot Question Hackathon
Drawn from a report by the Institute for Nonprofit News and Dot Connector Studio. The New England Center for Investigative Reporting held a series of community journalism hackathons focused on campaign contributions for four state ballot items. 65 people came to first hackathon, where they tested an app that allowed them to scour campaign contributions. The study of state contributions data revealed newsworthy nuggets, producing a series of stories for the NECIR’s The Eye and WGBH.
In preparation for a county commissioners meeting on Miami’s transit issues, The New Tropic asked its readers to share solution ideas using the Twitter hashtag #solveMIAtransit. The New Tropic then curated those tweets in a Storify gallery on its site, allowing visitors to see what other people were saying and to join the conversation on Twitter. It also hosted a happy-hour event to discuss transit issues, published opinion pieces by community members, and used the #solveMIAtransit hashtag to point readers to related conversations and additional information.
In 2014, ProPublica launched its Six Words youth engagement project in partnership with The Race Card Project. This project responded to the 60th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court ending “separate but equal” legislation, and focused on two Alabama high schools—one integrated, one all-black. ProPublica reporters invited students from each school to meet and share their experiences around the re-segregation happening in their communities and photograph their experiences in school.
The Great Thanksgiving Listen
Launched in 2015 by StoryCorps, the Great Thanksgiving Listen project focuses on empowering high school students to create and preserve a contemporary oral history of the United States. Participating high school students are tasked with recording an interview with an elder family member or friend over Thanksgiving about their life experiences in the United States using the StoryCorps mobile app. Recorded stories can then be submitted to StoryCorps, where they will be published on the StoryCorps website and entered into the Library of Congress records.
Community Media Training
This summary is from a report by the Institute for Nonprofit News and Dot Connector Studio. Voice of OC wanted to explore different forms of monetization while ensuring that interested communities have a real stake in the newsroom by giving them direct access to a vibrant op-ed page, listing more press releases, and instituting a civic calendar. Its main measure of success, online fundraising, soared by more than 117 percent last year. Voice of OC published more than 200 op-eds last year, and implemented a training program to encourage community members to write op-eds. (Here’s an example training.)
Calls from Home
For over ten years, Kentucky-based Mountain Community Radio (WMMT) has been producing the weekly radio program Calls from Home, which sends messages and call-outs to prison inmates in Central Appalachia. WMMT records the messages (often from friends and family members), and then broadcasts them on air for prisoners listening in. Calls from Home has been featured by WNYC, West Virginia Public Broadcasting, The American Prospect, Here & Now, and others.