Best Resources on Community Engagement and Social Journalism
You know you want do a better job serving your community and understanding its needs. Where do you start?
Here’s a few of my favorite pieces, curated from years of reading and saving good pieces. I’m sure there are a few that I’m forgetting. I recently turned 40 and the struggle is real, y’all. Please feel free to share more in the comments.
- The news is served: A practical framework for newsrooms to connect with niche communities is an excellent, practical guide from Kelsey Proud of WAMU, previously St. Louis Public Radio
- Questions are the new comments and other work by Jennifer Brandel of Hearken. Almost everything she has written on Medium is essential reading on how to listen to and understand a community and work *with* not just *for* them. See: What We Mean When We Talk About “Engagement” et. al.
- How to Listen Better — Also other work by Josh Stearns of Democracy Fund and Molly de Aguiar of the Dodge Foundation, much of it on Medium, including the publication Local News Lab. Josh’s email newsletter The Local Fix is awesome.
- A Guide to Journalism and Design by Heather Chaplin of The New School. Specifics on how design thinking applies to journalism — and oh my it does.
- Julia Haslanger’s work, most on Medium. Julia is a CUNY-J social journalism alum who worked with the community of social journalists/community engagement editors in the United States all last year. She has everything from salary surveys to best practices. She is now community manager at Hearken.
- The best ways to build audience and relevance by listening to and engaging your community by Monica Guzman, former Seattle Times columnist and Nieman Fellow.
- Joy Mayer has done a lot of great stuff at the University of Missouri and the Reynolds Institute…so many of her pieces are great it’s hard to choose just one, so look at all of ‘em. This one is a favorite: So long, “Wizard of Oz” journalism. Let’s make margaritas!
- CIR impact tracker, which is based on real, rigorous academic research. Also look to them for many examples of excellent engagement projects that reach a much larger segment of the community than your average investigative project. They do everything from postcards sent through Meals-On-Wheels to locally-produced plays to make sure more people hear about what their reporters have found. For example, check out the Dirty Little Secrets project in New Jersey. Cole Goins is super smart and you should follow him, too.
- ProPublica’s Terry Parris Jr. is a master of crowdsourcing; read about what he learned from their project investigating impact of Agent Orange on veterans.
- Read this piece, Comments are changing. Our commitment to audiences shouldn’t, by Texas’s Tribune’s brilliant Amanda Zamor.a
- The CrowdPowered News Network is an excellent resource/community for journalists working on engagement/crowdsourcing projects who are open to sharing ideas and advice.
- Books: Jeff Jarvis’ Geeks Bearing Gifts, the basis of our social journalism program at CUNY-J; Jake Batsell’s Engaged Journalism; Alfred Hermida’s Tell Everyone; In Genius: A Crash Course on Creativity by Tina Seelig, which gives insight into teaching design thinking practices well; Innovating for People, Luma Institute
- I’d also look at leaders in civic technology like Laurenellen McCann for good new ideas.
- Coral Project has done the research when it comes to improving comments and enabling better dialogue. I don’t care what you think or hate about comments right now — check them out and see what they have to say. It will improve your journalism and the quality of your sources. I’d also check out some of the smart work by social journalism alum Pedro Burgos.
- Not to toot our own horn, but our social journalism Medium publication, with details what we are learning in our CUNY-J MA program. I’ve got brilliant students doing smart experiments in this field.