You wrote: “The bulk of news stories get created without the customers (the audience) meaningfully involved in the decisions that shape the product (the story). The audience is usually only involved after a newsroom has put their story out into the world.”
That is just plain wrong. Does not describe any newsroom I worked in. Stories were scouted and assigned based on public interest and curiosity. Which was apparent in letters, conversations, and telephone calls to the newsroom. the public has never been passive about expressing its opinion, tastes, and desires.
Reporters and editors are deluged with story ideas. From flaks, consumers, confidential sources, etc. It’s an organic process that resists neat boxlike deconstruction. Your effort to discipline and order the process is admirable, but you might as well try to lasso the wind.