Which neighborhoods or populations in your community are covered by the media in a one dimensional way or not at all? Which areas are accustomed to journalists parachuting in, extracting a few quotes, and then leaving? These are the neighborhoods that most need news they can use, sustained engagement, and a platform to voice concerns, needs, and goals.
Minnesota has the largest Somali diaspora in the United States, but there is a lack of understanding between the broader population and the refugee community. The Star Tribune, the state’s largest news outlet, wanted to find a way to build a dialogue with Somali Americans to hear their perspectives and learn about issues they’d like to see covered. The news organization also wanted to explore new ways of delivering news to the Somali community, including publishing some content in the Somali language.
Through their reporting, a group of news staffers, including a newly hired Somali reporter, made inroads the community and into a neighborhood that has come to be known as “Little Mogadishu.” It held community conversations with local Somali leaders, and at one they debuted a Listening Post to allow people to share their thoughts in their own words. After President Trump signed an executive order restricting immigration and travel from several Muslim-majority nations, including Somalia, the Star Tribune brought the Listening Post to a local Somali-owned café to hear their takes on the travel ban.