Lessons From The Pandemic: How Three Nonprofit Newsrooms Shifted Their In-Person Engagement Strategies

Join THE CITY, Chalkbeat, and EdNC and learn how they kept their in-person engagement strategies going during the height of the pandemic by adapting the “Open Newsroom” to work in a virtual environment, continuing to listen, produce and share relevant news and information.

Three small nonprofit newsrooms collaborated in October for an “Open Newsroom” event — a project launched by THE CITY and Brooklyn Public Library to make local news more collaborative. The gathering focused on the special education system in New York and North Carolina. It was the 10th meeting in the series with 14 more to go. In March, the pandemic hit. The in-person engagement events for all three newsrooms were canceled. But reaching people was more important than ever during this time, so each organization moved the events from libraries and community centers to virtual rooms.

We will talk about “The Open Newsroom” model, how we apply what we call the “Listening Funnel” and how you can use these ideas – and tools – to reach communities with valuable information and build lasting relationships that can survive a pandemic.

We’ll cover how to put on an event series with listening AND reporting in mind. These are not merely listening events. They are not fishing expeditions looking for stories and sources. This is a method to build a relationship with a community and produce relevant information for them and actionable data for your newsroom.

And here’s the thing: If our three small newsrooms can do it, you can, too.

This is for: reporters, editors, newsroom leaders, anyone who wants to make local news more collaborative and inclusive.

Suggested Speaker(s)

  • Caroline Bauman
    Community engagement strategist, Chalkbeat
  • Terry Parris Jr.
    Engagement Director, THE CITY