Insights, tools and research to advance journalism

Community engagement

Quantifying the reach and impact of ‘Localore’ (2014) and ‘Localore: Finding America’ (2017) productions

Here we assess the reach and impact of two national Localore productions in 2014 and Finding America in 2017 across three platforms of engagement with which each production team experimented — broadcast, digital/social, and live events. These represent both local and national reach, as well as activity on the Finding America metasite where AIR’s documentaries […]

Best practices for doing community-driven storytelling

What journalists learn from listening to voices Each Finding America team immersed themselves deeply in their communities, first as outsiders and, over time, building meaningful relationships. The degree to which they succeeded in their assignment to create new story-making models was directly tied to their ability to establish trusting bonds. 1.) People are yearning for […]

10 key steps to making community-driven stories

Telling stories with and for people, instead of merely treating people as “sources,” is no easy task. The Finding America lead producers faced myriad obstacles while taking on the job of inventing new models for storytelling, but didn’t let these obstacles deter them. Some of the obstacles below involve finding ways to challenge traditional journalistic […]

At a glance: The Finding America projects, producers & lead collaborators

Visit Finding America’s metasite — — for additional context and ongoing updates from the projects below.  Anacostia Unmapped → Katie Davis, Brendan Sweeney, WAMU | Anacostia, a historically black neighborhood that is literally omitted from some maps of D.C., is where WAMU and Davis invite residents to lead storytelling efforts and explore the question […]

A reflection on the power of creative storytelling to unite communities

By Mallary Tenore In times of disparity and political division, storytelling can be beautifully unifying. My work on this report began in July 2016 with a weekend trip to Richmond, Virginia, where I attended a live storytelling event that AIR’s lead producer Kelley Libby led with the help of a community collaborator. There was a […]

Break Form: Making stories with and for the people

Introduction and Actions: Localore: Finding America Editor’s Note: This report captures the impact and lessons from Localore: Finding America — an independent public media initiative comprising 15 teams embedded for nine months at forward-moving public radio and television stations across the U.S. to invent new storytelling models with citizens. The report was produced by the […]

An investigative story on Shell from De Correspondent and The Guardian started out with a tip from a reader

Without reader engagement, an investigative story on Shell from De Correspondent, published in partnership with The Guardian, would have never happened. A reader shared with De Correspondent a confidential documents showing that Shell had detailed knowledge of climate change. De Correspondent’s co-founder Ernst-Jan Pfauth outlines its workflow for how correspondents bring readers into their reporting: […]

German audience engagement startup Opinary is expanding to the US

German startup Opinary is expanding to the United States and looking for partner publishers to try out its tools for free. Opinary creates embeddable tools that let readers share their opinions, and it currently works with organizations like BILD, Spiegel and The Huffington Post’s German and U.K. editions. If you’re interested in working with Opinary […]

Private Facebook groups offer an alternative to algorithm-driven public Facebook pages

Facebook pages are subject to the whims of Facebook’s algorithm, but Sujan Patel writes that there’s a way around this: Private Facebook groups. Personal posts and posts from Facebook pages alike are shown to users based on the algorithm, but users in private groups receive notifications when there’s a new post in a group. Those […]

How to use design thinking to engage with your community

“The process of design thinking is as follows: empathize, define, ideate, prototype and test. Ideally, this is how one would go about creating anything, right? But us journalists often skip the first two steps,” CUNY grad student Ghita Benslimane writes. “Empathizing with and defining a community’s problems and goals are crucial parts in any successful […]

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