There is a continuing urgency in the journalism field to understand what a sustainable future looks like. In order to do that, we must reconnect with journalism’s core purpose: to serve the public by providing people with facts and context, holding the powerful accountable, and acting as a trustworthy guide in a rapidly shifting world.  

Serving the public must start with listening, asking questions and seeking to know what news and information people need, and then committing to give it to them. This will require redesigning newsroom workflows and processes to invite public input and collaboration, especially before the story decisions are made, and it will require trusting that people do care about – a lot – and will pay for quality news.

In fact, the Media Insight Project’s May 2017 study on why people become subscribers clearly stated that “the future of journalism will increasingly depend on consumers paying for the news directly,” and that there is “substantial evidence that more consumers could begin to pay for news in the future — if publishers can understand them and serve them well.”

Happily, there are many newsrooms proving the business case for community-focused journalism, as well as the valuable role that journalists can play in fostering productive civic dialogue and helping us hear and understand different perspectives.

The Year of Listening will lift up these examples, as well as tools and resources readily available for building meaningful relationships with the public. We will share essays and interviews with creative, thoughtful people, and we will host events and trainings to put into action what we’re learning about listening and trust-building practices. We’ve got some special opportunities for you along the way, as well as a few tricks up our sleeves that will be both fun and inspirational.

We hope you will join this growing coalition of people who believe that journalism serves as a force for building trust, empathy and solutions in our communities.

The News Integrity Initiative at the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY is a global coalition of funders, journalists, technologists, academic institutions, non-profits, and other organizations to foster informed and engaged communities, combat media manipulation, and support inclusive, constructive, and respectful civic discourse. The fund is supported by multiple partners, including Facebook, Craig Newmark Philanthropic Fund, Ford Foundation, AppNexus, Knight Foundation, Tow Foundation, Betaworks, Mozilla, and Democracy Fund. 
For more information, please visit: www.newsintegrity.com.

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