Community Engagement in Newsrooms: What it means and how it's used inside a local magazine publication.
Community Engagement within Newsrooms
How do journalists connect and interact with their audience and what are the possible benefits of a relationship? Looking into the concept of engagement within newsrooms, it became increasingly clear that its definition and placement within the world of journalism remains ambiguous. But the research on engagement clearly shows its potential benefits.
As a journalist, I've always been intrigued about the impact community engagement could have on the relationship between journalists/news organizations and their readers/viewers. Could there be an underlying benefit that changes the way consumers look at news and the people that bring it them? In the age of digital newsrooms, engagement can be seen as communication through comments, likes and shares -- but what about adding face-to-face engagement through meetings, event, and public input? As a graduate student at Kent State University, I decided to research the impact of community engagement within newsrooms – between journalists and their audience.
To gain a better understanding, I chose the Devil Strip in Akron, Ohio as the focus of this research project because of it unique co-op model as well as the perspective it holds when it comes to community engagement. Based upon my initial research, there's really no clear visual of what community engagement looks like in newsrooms or how it’s implemented to connect and interact with readers and members of the community.
So what does community engagement look like in a newsroom and what is its potential impact on an audience?
Below is a list to guide you through the research study and visual analysis.
The Research Study
Community engagement can be interpreted differently depending on various views and individual response, but its roots are based on developing a relationship. Within newsrooms, it can heighten the relationship and trust between local journalism and its audience. While there is limited research related to community engagement within news organizations, several case studies have pointed to a positive impact for both journalists and their audience, with added attention to building a community by listening, interacting, and communicating within the relationship.
To complete this research study, a qualitative approach was taken to understand the impact and ecosystem of community engagement within a single newsroom. The research included in-depth interviews and open-ended questions to determine how engagement is viewed, implemented and reciprocated through the eyes of journalists and community members. The findings of the study have been analyzed and organized into a research paper and in this online format to visually showcase the ecosystem of community engagement within the newsroom of the Devil Strip. The webpage will include video interviews, photos, examples of community engagement, and the impact as analyzed through detailed discussions and interview questions.