Month: January 2018

Deploying Reach NC Voices statewide, shaping our future

by Nation Hahn. 2017 was a difficult year for so many of the people we crossed paths with in communities across our state. We will never forget the young lady in Madison County who was living without her incarcerated father and her mother who had disappeared because she was probably “on some stuff,” as the student’s grandmother told me in the pew of a small country church. We still get emotional when we visit the closed Princeville Elementary in Edgecombe County and recall the impacts of Hurricane Matthew a year-plus later. Yet these stories, as difficult as they might be, serve to remind us of what is possible when solutions are crafted by the community with the community in mind. In Madison County, PAGE serves as a lifeline and a launching pad for the young woman we met and others just like her. PAGE hires residents from the community and invests in young women who will lead the way forward for Madison County and perhaps the entire region. We took philanthropists and policymakers to Madison County last …

🗝 A Fund to Help Newsrooms Become Better at Listening and Engagement 👂🏽

By Jennifer Brandel and Andrew Haeg. Let’s start with a simple premise: Journalism at its core and at its best, is a service. Is that fair? Yes? Then, it follows that the crisis in trust that journalism is facing reflects, at some level, a failure of service. We can argue about the culprits and the roots of this failure. But we all share in the problem and need to take responsibility for solving it. Certainly it’s not an issue of quantity — never before have we had access to so much information. And it may not even be one of quality — never before have we had access to so much smart and informed writing and opinion. Journalism is suffering from a problem of connection. Connecting people with information they are looking for or need (vs. will click on). Connecting journalists with people who are left out of the conversation. Connecting newsrooms with underserved communities. If a lack of a connection is the problem, then what might be the solution? We believe it’s relationships. What should the 21st century …

How are we going to invite and listen to audiences we’ve typically ignored?

By Jenny Choi. Last night in Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood a roomful of journalists and community members gathered to discuss the launch of the University of Texas in Austin’s Center for Media Engagement research analyzing Chicago audiences by neighborhood, roughly divided by the north, west and south-side regions. This event was a part of the Chicago civic media lab City Bureau’s Public Newsroom convening series. In full disclosure, I was a program officer at the Robert R. McCormick Foundation and recommended the funding of this study, mostly to get updated baseline data on audience attitudes in specific regions I already knew were identified “information deserts” based on past studies in a new social media as ubiquitous newsfeed reality. (Newsflash: the majority of Chicago residents surveyed get their news from social media!) It’s no secret that Chicago is a highly segregated major city – and that racially and socioeconomically the South and West sides tend to be predominantly black and brown and poorer than their predominantly white northern counterpart. The Center for Media Engagement study showed …

How to Listen Better

By Josh Stearns. More than 30 tools, guides and examples to help journalists — and anyone else — be better listeners. In my weekly newsletter, The Local Fix, I compiled a list of guides, tools, and examples of how newsrooms can listen more deeply to local communities. I’m sharing it here in case it can be useful to others, and to encourage people to add to the list. Listening Articles and Guides Listening is a Revolutionary Act: Part 1 and Part 2 — Jesse Hardman Five Kinds of Listening for Newsrooms and Communities — Josh Stearns Listening as a designer, not a journalist, helped me look deeper — Charla Bear Want to Attract More Readers? Try Listening to Them — Liz Spayd Sensing as Listening: How sensor journalism helps us listen to our environment and each other — Lily Bui Collective Story Harvesting — Amanda Fenton Big Listening — Upwell Listening to People Outside the News — Melody Kramer How Community Listening Sessions Can Help Reach New Audiences — Teresa Gorman Photo by Simon Law, used via Creative Commons Listening Projects in Newsrooms WNNO: The Listening Post AZPM: Dimelo Project Washington Post: This Year I Learned WNYC: TalkBox Carolina Public Press: News Exchange WMMT: Calls From Home Cape and Islands …

What is “Postcard Journalism”?

By Jorge Caraballo. East Boston, Nuestra casa: A social journalism project that uses postcards to inform the Latino community in East Boston about the current housing crisis and the available resources to face it. East Boston (Eastie), Boston’s fourth largest neighborhood, is being rapidly transformed. Its location and public facilities have made it attractive for a wave of developers and investors. They’re buying and renovating properties to rent them to young professionals and students who can pay much more than the Latino working class community that has been living there for more than two decades. The fear of being displaced can be felt all around the neighborhood. You hear it in casual conversations on the bus; you read it on the “room-for-rent” signs on the laundromat’s cork boards. It’s told by the families who just got an eviction notice as they walk around Eastie on Sundays to see if they’re lucky enough to find a unit with the old affordable prices. I’ve been reporting displacement in East Boston since 2015, and I’ve seen how it has …

How to Listen to and Engage Your Community

By Mónica Guzmán. People don’t just consume news today. They participate in it. People have access to vast and varied information. They pursue news on their own time, and on their own terms, connecting with others who share and help satisfy their curiosity about their world. This presents an opportunity for news publishers strained by shrinking resources and growing competition: Now more than ever, journalists can engage their audiences as contributors, advisors, advocates, collaborators and partners. This study describes in detail how newsrooms and independent journalists can grow their readership, boost their relevance and find new sources of revenue by listening to and learning from their audiences. Reporters and editors can apply this knowledge to all phases of news production — including story selection, reporting, and distribution. These strategies also can help with the longer-term development of beats, sources, formats, and innovative news products. Over time, publishers embracing these strategies can strengthen their business and increase the impact of their work. This report is part of the American Press Institute’s series of Strategy Studies, which offer …

Listen More Effectively

By Annemarie Dooling. When I agreed to teach audience development to a class of undergrads at West Virginia University (WVU), I wanted to focus on a few key segments of community management. Those segments would be the core aspects of audience development: basic interviewing skills, user behavior, and safety and moderation. After all, a good foundation in these skills can help newsrooms convert a one-time reader into an evangelist. What I didn’t count on was how much I would first have to teach the skills of basic listening. Listening is a skill that everyone thinks they do well. In truth, most of us are just waiting for the other person to finish talking so we can speak. With the often-earned reputation of harassing commenters and anonymous Twitter trolls burned into our minds, many established journalists have created coping strategies based around listening less, and asserting themselves more. I had hoped that their future colleagues of a younger age would be less burned by these problems, and more open to community conversations. What I learned was that these …

Beyond Broadcast: Why We Need to Listen

By Andrew Haeg, CEO of GroundSource. This is the text of a keynote I gave to the Entrepreneurial Journalism Educators Summit at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism on July 15th, 2016.  First of all I fully embrace the irony of being invited to give a talk about listening. It’s like being given an award for humility. But I’ll take it, either way. I’m going to talk today about why we need listening more than ever now in journalism, and provide some specific examples that I hope will inspire you and your students to build listening into your work I came to this work of cultivating a culture of listening in news from my work in public media, and my own personal epiphany. I was a reporter first. I covered business. I was constantly stymied by PR people, by minders, and I felt a gap between the stories I reported and what I felt they could be— what the real story was. I remember doing one piece critical of 3M, a large Minnesota manufacturing company, and afterwards getting emails …

Yes, engaging with your readers will help you make money. Another study proves it.

Bitch Media just released a one-year study they did to see if using Hearken to engage with their readers would result in more people becoming paying supporters of the media organization. Much to our delight (but not surprise), the answer was a resounding “yes” — readers who engage are more likely to become financial backers, and that engagement effort will more than pay for itself. The study is a good read for anyone working in news, particularly at a place with a business model that includes direct audience support by way of subscriptions or membership. (And as advertising rates for news organizations continue to decline, paying subscribers and membership models are increasingly looking like a worthwhile approach.) When you’re asking the audience directly for support, there’s no more compelling argument to give then “we truly listen to you, and actually make the work you’re asking for.” While it might be news to some news organizations that meaningful, direct engagement with the public translates into bottom-line wins, it’s something that many other industries have known and tested for a long time. …

2018: The Year of Listening

For his Nieman Lab prediction last year, Andrew Haeg, founder and CEO of GroundSource, predicted that 2017 would be “The Year of Listening.” He wrote: “Not only have the digital dimes not added up, but our addiction to scale and its primary fuel, social media, have created the illusion of expanding reach while actually eroding what made us indispensable in the first place: our role as trusted guides to a rapidly changing world.” In order to earn the trust of the public, he urged newsrooms to start by listening — by “tuning into the concerns and voices of the whole community.” Turns out that Andrew was off by a year. 2018 is actually “The Year of Listening.” With the smoke bomb of 2017 now clearing, newsrooms can see that better listening and engagement are no longer “nice to have,” but are absolutely critical priorities for making good on their democratic obligations, as well as for their financial well-being. Throughout 2018, then, the News Integrity Initiative is hosting a celebration of innovative community journalism. We will highlight creative, …