Community engagement: A practical conversation guide for newsrooms

October 7, 2011 in Community, Craft, Resources, Revenue

There is a general understanding among journalists these days that flourishing in today’s media landscape involves more interaction with and responsiveness to our communities. Community engagement is often cited in future-of-news conversations as a key to continued success. Nine out of 10 editors in a Spring 2011 Reynolds Journalism Institute survey said they were talking in their newsrooms about how to make the news more social and participatory. The survey reinforced, however, that editors aren’t sure what exactly that means or how to go about it.

This discussion guide is an attempt to help get folks started.

As part of my 2010-2011 RJI Fellowship (“Ditch the Lecture. Join the Conversation.”), I spent several months interviewing journalists about their changing relationships with their communities. I focused on their attitudes and actions toward their intended news consumers. Along the way, I took notes about the questions these journalists seemed to be pondering, and of the tips and strategies they shared with me. I grouped those strategies into three categories of engagement: outreach, conversation and collaboration.

You’ll find many of their ideas on the following pages, and I’m indebted to everyone who shared their time and expertise with me.” SourceReynolds Journalism Institute

3 responses to Community engagement: A practical conversation guide for newsrooms

  1. Great resource, Joy. I especially appreciate the practical and thoughtful “Tactics to Consider” sections where you demonstrate how concepts can be actively applied. I’m curious, what inspired you to take on this project?

    • Nicole, I found myself a year and a half ago getting so excited about what I heard newsrooms doing to get their communities more involved in their journalism. I kept hearing the word engagement thrown around, but I didn’t know what it meant. I still don’t, really. But I spent a year studying what newsrooms meant when they said it. Their answers depended a lot on their individual missions and communities, and I hope the guide can help newsrooms identify how they want to develop their relationships with their communities.

  2. Thanks so much for sharing this, guys! I’m eager for feedback, so if anyone uses this in their newsroom, please let me know how it works for you. Let’s keep the focus of our journalism where it belongs — on the people who will consume it, use it, react to it and share it. Otherwise, what’s the point?

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