Help Teach The Next Crop of Digital Journalists

A copy of the August 13, 1969 New York Daily News, which I found on a street corner in Brooklyn.

UPDATE (10/6): The Community List

Each student has picked the community he or she will be reporting with this semester. Thanks to everyone who contributed ideas!

This fall, I’m teaching Writing and Reporting I for New York University’s Studio 20. I graduated from this program in 2011, and this is where I learned basic journalistic skills that were the foundation for the rest of the program.

This fall, I’m teaching Writing and Reporting I for New York University’s Studio 20. I graduated from this program in 2011, and this is where I learned basic journalistic skills that were the foundation for the rest of the program.

But this year, Jay Rosen, who runs the program, and I want to try something a little different — make audience engagement a core part of the course. At the beginning of the semester, each student will select a community that he or she will involve at every stage of the story cycle. Students will learn community research, reporting techniques and storytelling for the web, while constantly turning to their community for feedback, ideas and input. Hopefully, by the end of the semester, they will understand how involving the public from the beginning of the reporting process can strengthen a story.

For this to work, students will need a community that is also a good reporting partner. So I’m going to provide them with a list of around 35 to choose from. And I need your help finding these groups.

I’m looking for communities that have an online space, with active and lively discussions, and frequent offline events in New York City. National or international communities are OK, as long as they have a strong New York chapter or presence. Students need to be able to attend events and meet community members in person.

Cyclists are a good example of the type of community I’m looking for. Organizations like Bike New York use newsletters and social media to create online community, but they also organize a variety of offline events, where members meet and mingle. Cyclists also use tools like Google Groups and Meetup.com to organize rides themselves.

Female writers are another good example; a Facebook group called The Binders organizes female writers nationwide with lively discussion about issues specific to this community. A sub-group called Binders Full of New York Writers gives NYC members a space to chat online, as well as organize and promote offline events.

So — those are two good examples of what I’m looking for. Now I need 33 more. If you know any communities with a strong online and offline presence in New York City, please leave a note in the comments, or tweet me at @amandablair. Your guidance will help show students the potential of public-powered reporting.


Update as of Sept. 6, 2015: Done!

Here are the communities my class will be choosing from. Thanks to everyone who has contributed! (Studio20 students: if you’re reading this early, and hate everything, don’t worry — you’ll have a chance to pitch your own.)

  1. New York City cyclists
  2. Female freelance writers
  3. New York City history buffs
  4. Bedford-Stuyvesant
  5. Black Lives Matter (h/t Levi Gikandi)
  6. Urban farming (h/t Levi Gikandi)
  7. Family farmers in the New York City area (h/t Levi Gikandi)
  8. Entrepreneurs (h/t Chris A. Williams)
  9. Runners (h/t Simone Weichselbaum)
  10. Brooklyn Orthodox Jews (h/t Simone Weichselbaum)
  11. Foragers (h/t Simone Weichselbaum)
  12. Freegans (h/t Pedro Burgos)
  13. Astoria moms (h/t @RubinaFillion)
  14. Dog owners, in both Astoria and Park Slope (h/t @RubinaFillion)
  15. Park Slope parents
  16. Arsenal fans (h/t Niel Bekker)
  17. Urban explorers
  18. People interested in personal finance
  19. Charcuterie (Thanks to Josh Young for reaching out & working with us!)
  20. Comic book fans (ComicCon is in New York October 6–9)
  21. New Yorkers who live in flood-prone neighborhoods
  22. Brooklynites moving to upstate New York
  23. Women whose significant other is in prison
  24. Women at work
  25. Under-30 transgender community
  26. Yoga and meditation in New York
  27. Hairstylists (more groups to check)
  28. Public school teachers
  29. Book lovers
  30. Knitters
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