Listening Post Collective MENU
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Keep the Conversation Going

Stay in touch with your citizen networks. Make it a priority to provide them with information on the topics they said matter most. Providing feedback to your participants is a key step in building trust and sustaining a conversation. The community needs to see that their contributions have impact.

Tactics

  • Partner and collaborate with other media (community radio, alt-weeklies, neighborhood groups with Facebook pages) who might have a direct connection to the communities you are looking to work with. If it’s a print article, make copies and pass them out at a community meeting. Make them available in the community spaces that you identified in stage 2 of this process.
  • Community Data to Power. Look for opportunities to share your findings more widely (local government, elected officials, corporations, nonprofits) and ask them for their feedback that you can then share with your participants. It is important to lower the barrier for people’s ability to access the results of the news conversation you start.
  • Use a variety of methods for sharing your work. If you are a media outlet, share it online, on the air (TV or radio), or in print. If you are an individual or organization: use Twitter or Facebook to spread your finding and ignite new conversations and inputs! If you have a print article, make copies and pass them out at a community meeting. Make them available in the community spaces that you identified in stage 2 of this process. If a non-news media outlet, e.g. music radio station, has substantial audience ratings, and reaches a wide group of people, find a way to partner with them.
  • Information Needs Assessment. Return to your survey, look at the list of media people shared, and what modes of information sharing were listed as most effective. Make sure you employ a few of these in your attempt to connect back to the community.
  • Be consistent. Make sure you keep an eye on the conversation you started, and have some kind of regular check-in with your audience so they know you are on top of things, and that you are professional. This may mean texting new questions every Wednesday at 2pm, or having monthly meetings with local neighborhood associations. Whatever engagement methods work best for you, make sure you stay consistent.

In Action

Converse

New Orleans

This is an ongoing process! Every time you set out to inform and engage your community, try to incorporate something you learned from the previous attempt. The best way to make sure you are improving is to check in with the community to be sure you are doing right by them. Put out a call to communities and project participants every few months asking them what’s on their mind. Keep a running list of topics and questions that the community shares with you, and work those into your project. Let the community know when you use one of their ideas. And keep trying new and creative ways to engage offline with residents first, before trying to communicate with them online.

As part of it’s reporting on incarceration rates in Louisiana, the Listening Post project in New Orleans partnered with a youth media organization, Re-Think, to brainstorm community questions around the query, “What do jails and prisons do?” Some of the workshopped questions included, “How do we begin to heal and transform trauma violence in our communities? Would you invest in this community? Why and How? Why does the mass media criminalize black youth?” Students then brainstormed where in the community they would plant these questions. If you engage the right people, they will help you expand the conversation organically. 

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