Dan and I had the opportunity to talk about the work the News Co/Lab has been doing with our partner newsrooms at the recent Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) conference in Washington D.C.
We were joined by McClatchy Midwest Region Editor Mike Fannin (by Google Hangout because of a canceled flight). Mike shared specifics about our projects with The Kansas City Star, where he’s the top editor.
Our presentation focused on the importance of increased transparency and engagement in promoting community news literacy and engagement. We know that a significant segment of the population would like some training in digital literacy skills, and we believe local news outlets are in a unique position to help. Mike talked about how the Star has enlisted the help of the local public library to help open the dialogue between reporters and residents, resulting in community-driven story ideas. The Star is also working on ways to be more transparent, including a process for innovating how corrections are reported to readers.
The News Co/Lab is committed to discovering, promoting and developing tools and techniques for helping people understand and interact with news and information in the digital age. We understand how stretched newsroom resources are and we want to help make it easier to experiment. Mike described us as “relationship counselors,” reminding the Star of the critical role journalists play in educating the public and encouraging them to develop new processes that will scale over time. We shared a beta version of a printed “cookbook” of our Best Practices with panel attendees to help them get started on their own experiments in their classrooms and student newsrooms.
Our projects are ramping up in Kansas City and are other partner newsrooms; we will have updates to share on them very soon.
Kristy Roschke, managing director of the ASU News Co/Lab, is a media scholar and educator. She previously served as executive director of KJZZ – SPOT 127 Youth Media Center, a community initiative of the Phoenix NPR member station that mentors and empowers the next-generation of digital storytellers.