Listening Post Collective MENU
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Choose a Community

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.

Tactics

  • Research a community: Take a look at a map of the area you’re interested in. Note defining features like parks, schools, restaurants and bars, main avenues, community venues, places of worship, transport hubs, health clinics, grocery stores, and libraries you’d like to check out. Identify local organizations, activists, charities, meetings and community events. Check out local government websites and social media (twitter, facebook, instagram) to get familiar with local leaders, their thoughts, and their initiatives.
  • Identify local leaders. Think broadly, everything from a city council member to a barber and trusted organizations in the community. Let them know you’d like to stop by and say hello and learn more about information needs in the community.
  • Question your own motivation. Take time to establish relationships with people in the community who share your vision and who can confirm that there is a real need for such a project. If there’s an existing project with similar goals, ask how you can support their work first, before exploring your own ideas.

In Action

Choose

Minneapolis

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.

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