Insights, tools and research to advance journalism

Resources for listening to audiences

As part of efforts to increase diversity and inclusivity in journalism, the American Press Institute conducts research and supports projects around listening in news. Listening — in addition to developing empathy and facilitating dialogue — is one practice news organizations can adopt to help better reach and serve diverse communities.

Below are resources from API and others who back efforts to help newsrooms better listen to news audiences:

  • Read our essay collection on reaching new audiences by listening, which shows how four journalists across the country helped build trust with alienated or disengaged audiences. Examples, surfaced by API and Ashley Kang, include: hosting listening events at your news organization’s building; going out and being present where these communities work and play; providing a service to them and listening in the process; and taking these “focused listening” concepts digital. 
  • Check out our in-depth report that captures “The best ways to build audience and relevance by listening to and engaging your community.” Authored by Monica Guzman, who has carried out listening work at the Evergrey and elsewhere, it gives an overview and practical advice on the value listening can have in news. 
  • Follow The Year of Listening, the News Integrity Initiative yearlong “celebration of innovative, community-powered journalism and inclusive civic dialogue.” Among other plans, the website will feature examples throughout 2018. You may also find NII grantees inspiring when it comes to listening, including Free Press News Voices. 
  • Attend the People-Powered Publishing conference, an annual conference “focused on building collaboration and strengthening connections between journalists and the publics they cover.” Ashley Kang attended this year and was inspired by projects like Jefferson Center‘s Your Voice – Ohio Conversations and the Peoria Journal Star’s monthly advisory group.  
  • Connect with peers on Gather, a “project + platform to support community-minded journalists and other engagement professionals.” Hosted at the the Agora Journalism Center at the University of Oregon, the community helps facilitate learnings, including through online chats and other resources. 
  • Apply for the Community Listening and Engagement Fund, a fund “to help news organizations better listen to, engage and produce more relevant and differentiated content for the public they serve.” With support from NII, Democracy Fund, Knight Foundation and Lenfest, the fund currently helps newsrooms subsidize costs for newsrooms to adopt tools Hearken and Groundsource.
  • Read the resources on loyalty and community on Better News, the American Press Institute’s practically-minded website that’s part of the Knight-Lenfest Newsroom Initiative. The list in this section point to resources from many organizations creating a movement on listening, including Hearken and the Coral Project.

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