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My background is in reporting on social issues, mostly immigration, for mainstream outlets such as the New York Sun, Financial Times, American Public Media, New York Public. In these roles, one person has the microphone and while balancing perspectives, evidence-based reporting and remaining objective can always be challenging, it was a lot more straightforward.
So, as some of you know, I’m taking the place of Dan Gillmor today who wrote the book We the Media, Jouranlism by the People for the People. I’ve worked on various projects on community-engaged reporting. For the past few years I’ve worked on community engaged reporting projects with University of Southern Calfornia and now the Los Angeles Times.. In these projects with digital sites the idea is to get a wide range of contributions. And channeling Dan Gillmor, who I am supposed to be, this is the “We the Media: Journalism By the People, for the People.” Of course, my role remains that of gatekeeper.
Since August, I’ve worked as community engagement editor at the Los Angeles Times. This involves finding ways to get new voices into our reporting, particularly with parents, students and teachers. A few of the ways I do it is through our youth reporting project, High School Insider, education reporting, crowdsourced projects. The internet provides us with a better accessibility to more voices. When we are speaking to issues, there are more opportunities to advocate for them. This does not take away the need to provide objective reporting, but it gives more examples to provide gripping perspectives. These are two examples: one are voices from Porter Ranch, that we crowdsourced via a form on the Internet. The other are student perspectives on what they would like Trump to know about their immigrant parents.
Not only can we bring in more voices, we can also distribute them and that connects us to others. Here is an example, and we’ve talked a lot today, about distribution streams. This Dear Mr. Trump got about a million views on Facebook. The other was on Medium. We are just experimenting there, but it’s providing new audiences to connect with and hear from.
I also wanted to show two ways that I think we are advocating for our readers in important ways that come from the Internet. We also learn better reporting sometimes from what does better on the Internet. We learn accesibilty. We sometimes take a stand for issues that we are pursuing and know they are important, liek OscarsSoWhite which the LA Time pursued rigorous coverage of. Here you see, a reported investigative story, a live blog using curration, and a critics perspective driven story.
Another way we can advocate for our readers better using the Internet is by building better tools and then distributing them. So yes, we are advocating that parents, in this case, should know what type of arts coverage their schools provide. The next step is actually getting the content to people who speak different languages, Spanish in this case. And then engaging them in a way that will contribute to our coverage and make for better stories. Here are two examples where we’ve gotten to the first step. We’re working to have events and trainings to get to the next step.
And since we’ve got so many people from different backgrounds here today--
Community Engagement Editor, Los Angeles Times
The shift from when
just one person has
And “We the Media”
citizen journalism, user-