Paying for Engagement (Notes by Taylyn Washington-Harmon)

Engagement is part of funding
*Money is not enough to pay for engagement itself
*3-legged stool in paying for journalism: Donors are not always enough
*Engagement is resource-intensive

How do we pay for great engagement?
*Access to private money? Orgs with sustainable donor-fund: PRI, CIR, ProPublica
*If your engagement requires donor funding, it’s not fully sustainable
*There needs to be a firewall b/w engagement and fundraising

What does great engagement look like?
*Start with a method of having 1-on-1 with readers?
*Putting storytelling in the hands of the people
*Changing the culture of people working
*Livestreaming live events
*Digital invitations the produce massive amounts of data
*Don’t mistake engagement for distribution

How to make a living doing professional engagement w/o getting coopted by marketing?
*Fear of selling out in order to get a paycheck
*Donors get to express what they really care about

How does this work for for-profit newsrooms?
*Multiple revenue streams that aren’t hyper-dependent on advertising
*The new editorial-meets-business model creates disconnect
*Have in mind a goal that’s worth fighting for and fight for it
*The convergence of business and editorial

We’re hearing our readers —> better engagement —> long-term revenue
Experience + Elevate + Embed? Engagement (Everything has to about engagement)


Taylyn Washington-Harmon
Social Media Editor
O: 617-929-2816
M: 708-368-6051
@TaylynHarmon