How to Make Sure That Your Great Journalism Truly Informs

Great writing isn’t enough if you want to inform your audience, especially if you serve strongly conservative or strongly liberal media markets.

You’ve spent months creating a super compelling story about a vital issue in your community. You are so proud of it when it goes out! But can you assume that your audience is better informed as a result of your story? Research shows the answer is far from straightforward, and horrors — some apparently great writing actually fails to influence and inform real audiences.

Without intending to, you can even feed tendencies in your audience to seek out and believe misinformation. While this phenomenon may be thought to apply to more conservative audience segments, progressive audiences are not immune. As we head into the final weeks of the 2020 election and then into more years of heated political disagreement no matter who wins, you’ll want your journalistic talents to consistently contribute to a more informed audience.

In this high-energy session we will briefly review effective ways to engage more conservative audiences — and more liberal ones too — and what blindspots and pitfalls you can encounter in your writing and editing of a story. Then we’ll spend most of our time in breakout groups, with hands-on exercises where you’ll learn some helpful techniques to identify those potential problem areas. If you bring a story you’re working on, you can immediately apply the lessons to your work and come away with concrete suggestions to strengthen its impact!

Suggested Speaker(s)

  • Ernie Ting
    Founder and CEO, CivImpact Labs
  • Jennifer Napier-Pearce
    Editor, Salt Lake Tribune