Pathways to Engagement: Understanding How Newsrooms Are Working With Communities

by Angelica Das

Mar 1, 2017

As members of the civic journalism movement did over 25 years ago, a new generation of engaged journalism practitioners is rethinking relationships with communities. Geneva Overholser, Senior Fellow and Consultant at the Democracy Fund, identified challenges in a recent report that engaged journalism faces in an environment much more fraught with disruption, change, and constant innovation. And as interviewees for this report affirmed, engaged journalists are rethinking deeper questions about the fundamental role of journalism in a healthy democracy. At a basic level, engaged journalism represents a shift and refinement regarding the ways newsrooms interact with community members. Journalist and entrepreneur Andrew Haeg describes it as journalism reframed from a broadcast (one-way) function to a community (two-way) function: news as a conversation with the community. Democracy Fund believes that the future of journalism and a healthy democracy depends in part on how the news industry navigates this shift and embraces modes of reporting that make news more relevant, responsive, and reflective of their communities. Jake Batsell, author of Engaged Journalism: Connecting With Digitally Empowered News Audience, defines the term as "the degree to which a news organization actively considers and interacts with its audience in furtherance of its journalistic and financial mission."

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