How I’ll teach community outreach at Mizzou

As much as I’m enjoying my RJI fellowship (lots of thinking. lots of quiet. not enough chaos.) I’m really excited to get back in a newsroom. If you ask me what I do for a living, I’ll say I’m a journalist. So I’m ready to be back doing journalism.

Next year, I’ll be back as an editor at the Columbia Missourian, this time in a new position. I’m going to take what I’ve been learning all year about community engagement and bring it into the newsroom, as a community outreach editor (or some other title yet to be discussed).

As part of that, I’ll manage a community outreach team, made up of students in the Participatory Journalism class. The staff work for that class has typically focused on citizen journalism, and students have worked for, which has been around since 2004 and has broken some serious ground. Content from readers is a blast, and it’s not going anywhere. But I’m really excited about the chance to broaden this class to also include other aspects of engagement. Here’s the description:

The relationship between journalists and their audiences is changing. How can we reach out to our communities in an authentic way? How do we ethically navigate being an individual participant and a journalist? How can we be in conversation, rather than lecturing? How can we invite the community into our processes, and our products? In this course, we will look at how a collaborative culture is changing journalism, and how journalists can take part.

The three-hour version of the class (J4700/7700) will ask those questions every day, in response to the news and on behalf of a news organization. Our community outreach team will push for outreach, conversation and collaboration efforts around the room. We’ll take our content to the parts of the audience that want and need it most. We’ll join conversations where they’re happening, and host some on our site. We’ll try to build connections and relationships with individuals who have something to say, and make it easy for them to share it.

And … BREAKING NEWS! … there will, for the first time, be a one-hour version of the class. We’ll cover the same topics, but there won’t be a newsroom component. We’ll meet for an hour and 45 minutes once a week for eight weeks. That’s a topics class for now, so it’s listed as J4301/7301. Look for the section with my name on it.

Questions? Email me.


7 thoughts on “How I’ll teach community outreach at Mizzou

  1. I am so looking forward to this this class. At first I wasn’t sure what to expect, but it sounds innovative and so…new! It’s exciting to be apart of journalism’s future 🙂

  2. I’ve gotten some questions from students about the classes, so I thought I’d share some answers here.

    The newsroom portion will probably be 8-12 hours a week, on the community outreach team. We’ll be sharing content with specific parts of our audience, engaging in conversations with readers (on our own site and elsewhere), drumming up ways to collaborate with the community — and encouraging the rest of the newsroom to do the same.

    Some of it will certainly be social media. Some of it will be interpreting our analytics. Some of it will be emailing and on the phone. Some of it will be in person around town. Some of it will be the Missourian’s readers board. Some of it is will be things we haven’t even thought of yet.

    We’ll definitely work alongside the Missourian’s neighborhoods beat. There’s great work happening there. But our focus won’t be on reporting ourselves (though there might be some of that). Our focus will be on our relationship with the people who live in those neighborhoods, and how we can increase our connection with and investment in each other.

    We’ll also be blogging about what we’re doing and learning.

    1. The first stage of the BBC’s nrwesoom integration project was completed on Monday as journalists from the corporation’s rolling television news service began working in a common nrwesoom with their colleagues from radio and television news bulletins.—————adolfo

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