Update: Community Connection and Inclusion

Since its announcement last December, the ASNE and Journalism That Matters partnership for engaging diverse communities in meeting their news and information needs has identified three pilot sites and begun building an interactive platform for supporting news organizations in doing high-quality community engagement.

As a reminder, this effort offers new ideas and strategies to meet ASNE’s longstanding commitment to diversity in newsrooms by enhancing a newsroom’s capacity to accurately reflect and authentically cover the communities they serve. Based on experiences to date, we also see it as a strategy for building audience.

Key components of the project:

  1. Conducting “proof of concept” community-based conversations about the news and information needs of diverse communities.
  2. Developing an “Engagement Hub” for sharing stories and resources, connecting with others, and developing skills for engaging community.
  3. Offering an interactive program that mirrors some of the community engagement strategies at the joint ASNE/APME 2014 convention.

The “proof of concept” community partners are:

We Create Here – The Gazette, Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Unite Rochester – Democrat and Chronicle, Rochester, New York

Oakland Voices – The Oakland Tribune, Oakland, California

Each of our local partners is engaging its community on topics related to diversity and inclusion. For example, The Gazette is pursuing a topic ripe in their community: workforce diversity. They recently hosted a conversation with people from community organizations with an interest in the subject, posting Six ways to improve relations between residents in Iowa communities. The success of the conversation is opening the door to an experiment in sourcing. As they begin work on a story on affordable housing, they intend to host a conversation with a group of the people who “ARE IN” – with Authority, Resources, Expertise, Information, and Need. Listening to these public perspectives will inform their coverage.

The Engagement Hub is in development.

While community conversations progress at partner sites, so does platform development. Technologies have been selected. Because of its community orientation, NationBuilder was chosen as the CMS. We are working with a developer to create an innovative, interactive approach to sharing information. A first version of the site will targeted to be available by the end of April.

Conference program discussions are underway.

Initiative leaders are in conversation with convention planners to define an engaging and productive session for conference attendees.

The initiative leaders are:

  • ASNE Diversity Committee co-chairs:
  • Karen Magnuson, editor and VP/News, Democrat and Chronicle Media Group, Rochester, NY.
  • Manny Garcia, editor, Naples Daily News, Florida.
  • Mike Fancher, interim director of the University of Oregon Center for Journalism Innovation and Civic Engagement and Journalism That Matters board member, Seattle, WA.

JTM leader:

  • Peggy Holman, Journalism That Matters co-founder and executive director, Bellevue, WA.

For information contact:

Mike Fancher, 206-683-5492, fanch@mikefancher.com

One thought on “Update: Community Connection and Inclusion

  1. Tom Flanagan

    The issue that matters most to me is the use of social system technology to bring down the cost of transparently engaging focus groups in investigative reporting programs – such an innovation would be worthy of us all but would shift the power of the “story” from the intrepretive lens of the reporter to the authentic voice of the people. I don’t know that the profession is genuinely ready for such a change.

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