Listening Post Collective MENU
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Create Content

The questions, comments, and experiences you are hearing from your community are a great source of material and story ideas. Use community feedback to identify new leads or new angles on trending issues—or ones lacking media attention—and produce items for your outlet or organization that speak to the concerns and questions you are hearing.

Tactics

  • For traditional media, digital content creators and other citizen journalists: We believe it’s most powerful if community participation is framed within actual journalism, as opposed to a stand-alone vox-pop, and that the citizens that engage with you can be considered not only sources but also experts when it comes to their specific experience with a particular issue in the neighborhood.
  • For non-journalists: If your job involves advocacy or other kinds of public outreach to media, local government or policy makers – the community voices you tap into can provide you with great material for your outreach. Depending on the focus of your community work, a Listening Post project can be a great way to crowd-source data regarding employment, health needs, housing issues, and more. This can help you determine how effective some of your work is, and help you either shift your efforts, or confirm that you’re on the right track.
  • Make a point of challenging stereotypes about topics and communities in your target area by highlighting the voices of residents who are experiencing these issues. If a neighborhood is being generally cast in a negative light, reach out to people who live there, and see how they define and experience where they live.
  • Based on what you have heard, seek out other sources and experts on the topic to learn more about the issues. Whatever you hear can be featured in your stories, advocacy outreach or shared with project participants

In Action

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New Orleans

When the Listening Post project in New Orleans wanted to tackle the increasingly contentious issue of affordable housing, it was important to avoid retreading the established narrative—that white outsiders were buying up neighborhoods and pricing long-term residents out. They placed a trio of community recording devices in neighborhoods with varying real estate costs, and asked, “What percentage of your income goes to housing?” And, “What would you miss most if you were priced out of your current neighborhood?” To balance out this community feedback, project members went on a ride-around with a local housing expert and real estate agent, an expert in a more traditional sense. They also followed up with a community member who sent the project a text message. She shared her unique example of home-ownership in a neighborhood that is rumored to be the landing spot for families priced out of their traditional areas. The end result was an informative radio segment that was journalistically sound, and reflective of the experience of community members. 

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