Tool for Engagement – Conversation about the Field Guide

10:45am on 10/3
Tool for Engagement – Conversation about the Field Guide
Elisa, Sheetal, Margaret, Caitlin, Jana, Bill, Andrew, Stephen, Ashley, Rachel

Lets talk about engagement experiences that can be used as models

Activist journalism — do you get the stories through community storytelling? we have several websites that help grow awareness. “Tiny House Village” – Village Eugene. We put the info on those websites and I have a couple of different YouTube channels.

We have thought a lot about the circle — engagement becomes something that comes back to inform the reporting. This is an example of how to measure successful engagement.

The Nail Salon story from the NYT = an example of what engagement looks like.

Amanda: PIN Bureau
We got to pick any commmunity that we wanted to reach out to. Shootings had taken place in Waco and I picked women bikers.
Showed up at events, started meeting people for coffee, and I used PIN queries. Queries on social media.
They were an example of the community that wanted to be engaged and be heard.

Jana: I didn’t go into it thinking I would help empower people but thats what came up out of my process.

Ashley: Makeout Care — stories around a guy named Al. Unlikely to vote. Connected him to candidates to issues he care about. He was an apathetic non voter and we turned him into a voter.

Earthquake Safety and Schools in California: I worked to develop a coloring book with Red Cross.

Ashley: Go from perceived need to identifying actual need and then respond to that

Sheetal: There is a level of embeddness at the heart of these different stories. Being on the ground, creating trust. But there is a real tension for journalists who need to fight resistance w/in culture of journalism and find financial support for that kind of work.
Caitlin – Tension is really to get journalists to think about embedding at all.

Jana had an experience where she did the work and after the fact received grant money to share her process and then support from university to spread it farther. So alternative way to develop resources to support the project?

Embeddedness — core quality of engagement?
Quantitative data is that community engagement? Community Generative versus journalist generated. It’s a question to address.

Elisa: Discussed the insights from the “Teaching” session
— embedded versus distance in reporting about a community
— know when to speak for versus creating a platform for them to share their own stories
— face time
— before during and after
— iterative/embedded and occurs over time and in stages

Get people to go out and actually do something. Its a slightly different orientation.

Wish list:
Creating more community journalists (Elisa)
Help non-journalists engage

Instruction manuals, handbooks, etc what are examples that we’d like to see?

What are parts of engagement
Jana: Listening is a big part of the engagement process
Elisa: Distilling process
Elisa: Self-care
Rachel: What to do w/info on or off the record information — Ethical consideration (something
Setting expectations from the beginning in this type of work is important
Bill: discussion of technical resources that are available
Margaret: tools for getting to know community you are entering; cultural etiquette; geography; leaders; media outlets
Bill: measurement information
Elisa: Participatory tools
Caitlin: Goals, how to set goals (collaboratively?) — in order to do engagement do you need collaboration? if not, why not?
Jana: Activist etiquette
Quality improvement
Sharing successes and failures
Interviewing Skills

Sheetal: Can we consider the type of information that can come from the broader community beyond journalist contribution?
-Elisa: Know possible partners

  • Elisa: Who is already engaging the community
  • What possible sources of information are out there?

Bill: Who is this for? I’m imagining I’m a legacy news reporter and I’m trying to engage w/a particular community. Let’s say drug treatment facility. Are we imagining this is a multi-media web resource for me to go learn how to do that?

Elisa: It could be. We’re getting a general blueprint.
Laying out the process and production is part of the goal of this tool.

Bill: How tos approach. How do I go get the story? How do I write it? How do I share it?

The field guide needs to have a well curated resource section.

About Sheetal D. Agarwal

PhD Candidate at UW studying networks and innovation in civic, political, and journalistic contexts.
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