Listening Post Collective: A look back at 2017

Claudia Lopez showing how to use the Listening Post recording device located at a library in New Orleans. Photo by Emma T. Scott.
Listening Post Collective homepage
Outside of the Allied Media Conference in Detroit, MI
Outdoor community bulletin boards became a helpful medium for information sharing after Hurricane Maria.
Signs in North Omaha, Nebraska. July 2017.
Street in Barclay, Baltimore where the LPC assessment took place.
  • New Orleans, LA: The Listening Post New Orleans, in partnership with WWNO, WTUL, and WBOK, curates a monthly news conversation with over 2,000 participants across the city. Over time they have developed a deep trust in several communities and this has offered opportunities to collaborate with other media outlets looking to connect with certain communities in authentic ways. One such partnership this past year was with The Trace, a national media outlet that focuses on the topic of guns in America. Every year, an estimated 80,000 people survive a gunshot wound nationally. Chronic pain, extreme health care costs, and quality of care are major issues that these survivors face, though their stories are rarely covered. Finding survivors and telling their stories can prove difficult and needs to be done with care. In response to this, The Listening Post New Orleans partnered with The Trace and through outreach via community events, listening post recording stations around New Orleans, and text messaging, the New Orleans team collected voices of local gunshot survivors. The Trace published in depth features from the collaboration, and is working with the LPNola team to circulate a community survey.
Photos of gunshot survivors featured in the in depth feature by The Trace. Photos by Will Widmer and Chris Jay.
  • Jersey Shore, NJ: Last year, our longtime Listening Post partner, Jersey Shore Hurricane News has hosted Facebook Live sessions with the Mayors of Brick County and Lakewood County and directed questions and experiences that local participants submitted through their Listening Post Project. The videos had over 15,000 views, and topics ranged from Sandy recovery, to mental health, housing rights, permit fees, and other local issues. The JSHN Listening Post continues to experiment with offline engagement strategies and last fall they asked residents to share reflections from the 5th Anniversary of Sandy. Check out the responses that were gathered through Instagram and a Listening Post at the Red Bank Public Library. People shared memories of extended power outage, kayaking down the street, and fires from downed power lines.
  • Oakland, CA: El Tímpano, a community news project that serves the Latino community in Oakland, was our first Listening Post Collective grantee. El Tímpano was founded by Madeleine Bair and our small grant will fund the launch of the project including an information ecosystem assessment with the community which will allow Madeleine to co-design the project with community members. She’s partnering with a community groups and local church leaders to facilitate small group workshops over the next two months centering around the information needs of Latino immigrants in the Bay Area.
Workshop participant identifying where they consume information in Oakland.
  • Listening to Create Useful Reporting: Last summer, the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting set up a Listening Post table at a local farmers market in Urbana, Illinois. The goal was to engage with their community by being accessible to their community. Anna Casey reflected on her learning stating, “one participant expressed his frustration with how agriculture stories are reported. Although he’s a regular public radio listener, he tunes out stories on this topic. It’s not because he’s uninterested, but it’s because he can’t keep up with all the “ag” acronyms reporters use that the average person might not be familiar with. While that might not be an exclusive scoop, it’s valuable information that we wouldn’t have received if we hadn’t made the effort to listen. That frustrated public radio listener’s input, along with all the other input we received the past two weekends, is going to help us report on issues that affect Illinoisans in a way that’s useful to them.”
  • Rising Tides in Boston: Last summer, WBUR produced a series of stories covering climate change in Massachusetts. They were eager to examine the effects it was having on people’s lives so they deployed a listening post recording device in East Boston to find residents interested in sharing their story. What they found were residents who shared the challenges they’re facing financially because of rising tides and rising insurance costs. You can read more here.
  • Baby Shower in Richland Ohio The Richland Source spent a year reporting on infant mortality as part of their Healing Hope project. The reporting culminated in a community baby shower hosted in the Richland Source newsroom. 500 people, 200 of them mothers, showed up to the event where they could get important information on infant and parental health and mingle with other parents and community organizations. The Listening Post Collective worked with the Richland Source to develop engagement strategies, craft questions, and construct a Listening Post that was set up at the baby shower. Over 100 mothers left responses with the Listening Post throughout the event. You can watch their Faces of Motherhood: A Listening Post Project video here.
  • Minneapolis, MN: Minneapolis Star Tribune
  • Illinois: Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting
  • Mansfield, Ohio: The Richland Source
  • Boston, MA: WBUR
  • Stonington, ME: The First Coast
  • Anchorage, AK: Alaska Public Media
  • Sweden: Listening Post Norrköping
  • Tampa, LA: Tampa Public Radio
  • Milwaukee, WI: Milwaukee Public Radio
  • Clovis, CA: Valley Public Radio
  • San Francisco, CA: KALW
  • West Virginia: 100 Days in Appalachia
  • Philadelphia, PA: The Reentry Project, WHYY
  • Los Angeles, CA: Fresno Bee, LA Times, Wilmington Wire
  • Minnesota Public Radio
Examples of Listening Post recording devices around the country. Richland Source (top left), Listening Post New Orleans (center top), WHYY/Temple University (top right), Fresno Bee (bottom left), WBUR (bottom right).
  • CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, New York, NY
  • University of Oregon, School of Journalism and Communication, Portland, OR
  • California State University, Northridge, Journalism Department, Northridge, CA
  • USC Annenberg School of Journalism, Center for Health Journalism, Los Angeles, CA
  • Quinnipiac University, School of Communications, Hamden, CT
  • Temple University, Klein College of Media and Communication, Philadelphia, PA
  • LPC Memberships: This year we will be formalizing our support for outlets and individuals using our playbook by launching a Listening Post Collective Membership. Members who sign up and agree to the LPC guiding principles will receive consistent mentorship by the Listening Post Collective team, access to apply for small grants, and networking opportunities with other members. Membership is free — look for details in a few short weeks.
  • Micro Grants: We’re looking forward to engaging with even more partners this year, through a new small grants program at LPC. We’ll be releasing a request for proposals for micro grants later this year, to enhance community news projects using our playbook.
  • LPC Advisory Group: This year we will be convening a small LPC Advisory Group to bring together people thinking deeply about more inclusive journalism, and how to make it sustainable. We will announce our first Advisory Group members later this winter.

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Strategies and tools for meaningful community conversation. The Listening Post Collective is a project of Internews. www.listeningpostcollective.org

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Carolyn Powers

Senior Program Officer for Listening Post Collective @ Internews