Engaged Journalism Resources

So far, 2019 has been a banner year for the growing field of “engaged journalism.” There’s a growing recognition of the importance of finding new ways to connect with audiences in order to bolster trust, and engagement jobs are growing even as newsrooms continue to shrink.

While journalists around the world are adopting these new methods, in the U.S., foundations have played a key role in bolstering related approaches. In early February, the Knight Commission on Trust, Media and Democracy recommended that newsrooms “emphasize radical transparency and community engagement,” and Knight, along with funders including the Democracy Fund, the News Integrity Initiative, the Rita Allen Foundation, the Wyncote Foundation and others have made significant investments in supporting related outlets, projects and tools.

The current vibrant community of practice built on 20th-century movements such as “civic journalism,” designed to ensure that newsrooms are serving the public interest and helping to inform and connect citizens around issues central to democracy. Over the past decade the explosion in mobile and social media has powered a wave of related experimentation. Conferences such as Experience Engagement (2015) and People-Powered Publishing (2016) began convening practitioners in person. In 2017, the Gather platform launched and is serving as a central digital hub for the community with robust conversations, sharing of best practices, and professional development resources. In 2018 The Engaged Journalism Accelerator launched in Europe and spurred knowledge-sharing on an international level.

Dot Connector Studio team members have been researching emerging forms of engaged journalism and public media for more than a decade, and are currently conducting research on the Community Listening and Engagement Fund with support from the Lenfest Institute for Journalism. Below we have assembled a shortlist of introductory resources for practitioners, funders, observers and others who may be new to the conversation. This is a snapshot of how the engaged journalism community is approaching their work with the intentions of audience-driven storytelling, inclusion and transparency.

Research and Resources

Engaged journalists walk the talk. Reporters and researchers involved in this community are spirited in sharing their methods, ideas, tools and other resources. As a result, there is a robust body of resources to choose from. Here’s a sample some of the foundational theory, curated articles, and the growing body of related case studies — including a few reports produced by the Dot Connector Studio team.

Theory and Research

Collections and Case Studies

Digital Community Spaces

Interaction is a key feature of the engaged journalism community of practice. The Gather Slack community has become a lively online gathering place boasting over 600 members, and older Facebook groups continue to be active. In addition to these dedicated channels, Twitter is widely used for communication, ideas, news and commentary.

Bonus: This 2015 Poynter article continues to be an excellent directory of social media groups: “A list of every hidden journalism-related social media group I could find,” The Poynter Institute

Feeding Your Inbox

Once again, Gather has taken a lead role with their weekly newsletter dedicated to engaged journalism, including member profiles, links to lightning chats and job alerts. Others listed here are not explicitly dedicated to engaged journalism, but actively cover themes and topics relevant to the practice.

Meeting in Real Life

Increasingly larger journalism gatherings like ONA are incorporating engaged journalism discussions and programs. The following are recent conferences dedicated more directly to the convening and practice of engaged journalists and their civic-oriented partners and colleagues.