The question we often forget to ask ourselves is: How can we motivate more journalists (and journalism students) to put the community at the center of their work, be better listeners, and understand more precisely the needs of the public? Until we can think of the public not just as “audiences” and “consumers,” but also as experts and partners in the communities we aim to serve, we shouldn’t expect to receive the public’s complete trust.
“We’re not trying to repeat what already works on platforms like Facebook and Slack. But we also want to disrupt the notion that is echoed on these stream-of-consciousness platforms like Facebook, that whatever’s the latest is always the best. We want to be able to honor the work that’s in the past, too, and give people the opportunity to find it. That’s critical and will make this platform even more powerful.
Quality journalism is experiencing a boon as a result of the election and first months of the Trump administration, said Regina Lawrence, executive director of the UO’s Agora Journalism Center and George S. Turnbull Portland Center and a scholar on the role of the media in politics and campaigns.
The gathering that brought the community of practice and engaged journalists together to help create a space for people to experience what the industry and educators have been talking about in relation to storytelling and involving the community.
Center for Media Engagement, formerly known as The Engaging News Project, strives to find ways that the U.S. news media can more effectively empower the public to “understand, appreciate and participate in the democratic exchange of ideas” by testing web-based strategies for informing audiences, promoting discourse, helping people to understand diverse views and analyzing business outcomes.
Solutions journalism crafts rigorous and fact-driven stories documenting credible responses to societal problems. Rather than the traditional approach of reporting solely on things that have gone wrong, this type of journalism focuses on both what is working and what is not, delving deeper into the why and how.
The Agora Journalism Center at the School of Journalism and Communication (SOJC) at the University of Oregon is launching a digital community that the launch team hopes will serve as a space for anyone interested in questions around how to make “journalism more responsive to the public’s needs, more representative of the public’s diversity, and more inclusive of the public’s voices.”
This will not be the cozy, formulaic relationship between the media and the president evident in some past administrations. Trump’s entire campaign challenged virtually every working assumption about how candidates should behave and how the media should cover them. Many journalists are critically reflecting on their own performance during the 2016 election and wondering how they should cover the 45th president.
Engagement Lab’s Eric Gordon talks about the commonalities between his unique perspective on civic engagement and Agora Journalism Center’s mission to “articulate a vision and practice of journalism inextricably linked to the health of our democracy.”
The series was inspired by Experience Engagement, a four-day participatory “un-conference” hosted by Journalism That Matters and the Agora Journalism Center. Over the next two weeks, this series will explore the progress, promise and potential challenges of community engagement in journalism.