All posts tagged: listening

Listening is a Form of Healing

By Jennifer Brandel. An interview with Margaret Wheatley It’s an absolute thrill to be able to connect the incredible mind and work of Margaret Wheatley with the world of journalism. Before we get to meet and learn from Margaret, there’s some backstory required. In the mid 2000s, as I was learning how to be a journalist, I also became certified as a healer in alternative medicine. I came into that line of work partly out of curiosity, but mostly because I needed to communicate with a family member who was no longer accessible through more common modes of interacting with the world. It was a strange confluence: the reporter brain of questioning and fact-checking everything, with the healer brain of trusting that some knowledge and wisdom cannot be accessed, grasped or verified through the intellect. In holding these two approaches in my daily experience, I began to see both the differences and the overlap. During days practicing journalism, I often felt extractive – that I was interacting with people on my terms, approaching them to …

37 People Struggling to Get by in New Jersey

By Mike Rispoli. When it comes to telling stories of economic hardship, what can journalists learn from social workers? From oral historians? From artists? From community advocates? It turns out, a lot. At a recent workshop at Rutgers University convened by coLAB Arts and Free Press, a dozen people gathered to begin a community collaboration to lift up the stories of New Jersey residents struggling to get by in one of the country’s most expensive states. In New Jersey, 37 percent of residents have trouble affording basic necessities, according to the United Way of Northern New Jersey. Our project, “37 Voices,” will feature interviews with 37 people living in the greater New Brunswick and Newark area who fall into this threshold — working but finding it hard to pay for basic needs. The project’s roots lie in a 2017 collaboration between Rutgers University’s NJ Spark and Free Press. That effort focused on training student journalists in community-engagement techniques and telling the stories of New Brunswick’s working poor. Free Press and the New Brunswick-based group coLAB Arts then decided to take the idea …

Recovery in post-Maria Puerto Rico

By Jesse Hardman. More than a million people access vital information via start-up news site It’s been a harrowing six months since Hurricane Maria hit Freddie Rodriguez’s small town of Juana Díaz near Puerto Rico’s southern coast. An infection from an exposed nail in the storm’s rubble put Rodriguez in the hospital for a stretch. Eventually he returned home to find that a tree had crushed his roof. That’s when community news correspondent Nashaly Alvarado encountered Rodriguez. For the past few months she’s been collecting hurricane recovery news stories and sharing them through “Information as Aid,” a social media-based recovery-focused news feed. Alvarado’s story about Rodriguez ended with a quote: “Lo unico que pido es ayuda para remover el arbol.” (“The only thing I ask is help removing the tree.”) This hyperlocal story got more than a million views, and put a spotlight on the ongoing issues facing many Puerto Ricans as they fight their way back towards normalcy. Rafael Torres read the story and, like many, responded with a comment on Facebook. Unlike all the other …

🗝 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 …

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 …