Listening Post Collective MENU
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Visit and Listen

Go for a walk in the community, but leave your microphone behind. Pay attention to where people hang out and how information is shared in popular locations like churches, grocery stores, libraries, community centers, and government offices. Sit down at a restaurant, strike up a conversation, look for local signs posted in the neighborhood. Search for community bulletin boards. The point of all of this is to catch people in their daily comfort zones. Eventually you’ll find ways to share important information through these spaces and networks.

Tactics

  • Observe information flow. Where and how is information being shared? Do you see the local newspaper? Do you hear people listening to the radio? Are people on their cell phones? What community messaging do you see—signs, billboards, public art, official government notices? What are they referring to?
  • Meet with community leaders and ask about what they are hearing from residents about their needs and priorities. Ask leaders how they get the word out in their area.
  • Go to events. Neighborhood watch meetings, religious services, community markets, festivals, etc. What’s the focus of the event? What’s the turnout? How did people hear about the event?
  • Go online. Where is a community sharing information with each other online—Facebook groups? Non-profit websites? Community connector websites like Next Door? Email newsletters?
  • Notes, take lots of them, and get contact details from people!
  • Photos, take lots of them, especially images of the various ways information is getting shared e.g., photos in peoples windows, flyers at a local grocery store, community signs on telephone poles, newspapers on stoops, or messages on local church signs.

In Action

Visit

New Orleans

The day after reporter Jesse Hardman arrived in
 New Orleans, he went on a walk through the Central City neighborhood without his microphone, and without his notepad. Central City is a tight-knit, historic community in the heart of New Orleans. Hardman stopped into an old barbershop and bought some peanuts, the establishment’s
 side-hustle, chatting with the barbers about the neighborhood. He walked past a row of blighted homes, stepping around potholes filled with stormwater. He chatted with the owner of a dance studio about her Mardi Gras dance team. And he talked to customers at a corner store, down the street from a slew of recent shootings. Later that week he went back to the neighborhood and sat in on a church service. The pastor, who had recently died from cancer, was a local advocate for stopping gun-violence, and his death was a big loss to the community, where shootings happen sometimes daily. After the service he spoke about this with the interim minister and congregation members. Later, after all the walking, Hardman entered all of his mental notes in a Google document.

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