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Places and practices to find yourself as an engagement journalist, today

Sebastián Auyanet
Let's Gather
Published in
8 min readJan 15, 2024

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Among the several journalism books I’ve read this past year, Sue Robinson’s ‘How Journalists Engage?’ was the most inspiring one I came across. The main reason is that it not only compiles in a very readable way a significant portion of the teachings, the genesis, and the philosophy of the engagement journalism movement but also projects the practice into a taxonomy of new roles that professionals with an interest in this field could land into, today or in the near future. It also states the concept of a ‘built environment,’ a compound of public and private organizations and individuals prioritizing listening and care like us, even if they don’t do journalism.

The book also allowed me to progress on tackling one of my biggest obsessions: to picture actionable process practices for these engagement intentions that could be documented so a journalist can try, rinse, and repeat to better listen, engage, and care while doing journalism.

Therefore, I conducted the Gather Lightning chat as a conversation with Sue, primarily because I think her book might help us explain better — to ourselves and to people who struggle to understand what we are trying to do — the path that lies ahead of us who want to keep this way of approaching journalism evolving (which will also have to include better tracking and communication of qualitative impact beyond anecdotal evidence to prove this impact and get more buy-in inside newsrooms, plus finding ways to make that something that brings revenue in some sort of way).

I want to specifically highlight three moments of our conversation: how we operate in a ‘built environment’ that tries to prioritize listening with many other non-journalistic agents, the four roles (and opportunities!) for doing engagement journalism in a newsroom, and how to actually practice an ethic of care while doing it.

A BUILT ENVIRONMENT WHERE WE FIND ALLIES (AND SOME SOLACE AS WELL)

Are we doing this alone?’ has been one of my recurrent questions even while doing my MA degree at the Newmark Graduate School of Journalism, back in 2017. The worry hadn’t receded and kept coming during all these years working at an outlet with a seemingly unreachable audience…

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Sebastián Auyanet
Let's Gather

Journopublisher en NowThisNews, media consultant. Ocassional professor. MA in Engagement Journalism. Obsessed with bringing people closer to journalism.