From Denise Cheng, research and outreach editor for the Journalism Accelerator and former citizen journalism coordinator of The Rapidian.
The Journalism Accelerator, an emerging community that connects media innovators and resources, is hosting an online forum this week in service of the hyperlocal community.
The JA invites you to join other hyperlocal publishers and journalists, data initiatives, investigative news networks, civic app developers and many more to consider coverage strategies for the 2012 election.
I recently joined the JA team as the research and outreach editor, but based on my own experience on the front lines of hyperlocal publishing, there are several things that make me believe you’ll want to look up and join the conversation.
Hyperlocals typically have a mission to serve their local communities and a desire to serve up fine-tuned coverage that empowers audiences and, ultimately, gives them a competitive edge.
I don’t have to tell you that with the rigorous daily demands, most hyperlocals don’t have the capacity or resources to dive deep into investigations. Those tools are literally at our finger tips but we rarely have the time to vet them. Powerful civic information tools crop up everyday, but there’s a gap in getting data into the hands of an audience that benefits from this information. Hyperlocals have tremendous local influence and can serve as that missing link.
The JA’s online forum is à la unconference, taking the topic of 2012 election coverage and slicing it three different ways. You can participate in all of it or just the segments you’re most vested in:
- December 7: Editorial tools, tips and resources.
- December 8: Collaboration tools and networking models.
- December 9: Money, elections, and hyperlocals.
There are many more coming to this conversation to share their experience and learn from yours; this forum centers around the needs of community publishers. There will be seasoned publishers who have been through a few election cycles and some who are devoted entirely to civic reporting. There will be people running data initiatives who are looking for more avenues to engage the public. There will be hyperlocals musing on how to build on strategic election coverage as part of their sustainability strategy.
Participation is easy. Create a profile on the JA and tune in when your topic du jour begins. The live chat window is from 11a-1p PST (2p – 4p EST) but the conversation continues to simmer beyond those hours, just at a more leisurely pace. As a commenting forum, too, it lets you do what you do naturally: multitask.
The 2012 election is an opportunity to bring it all together, whether it’s another avenue for civic tools projects to engage the public or for hyperlocals to deliver even more nuanced coverage. Walk away with fresh ideas, practical and hands-on methods to make them a reality. Borrow concepts and share some of the good work you’ve done.
Here’s to new and seamless collaborations between parties, for the solid work all of you do to reach the people we all serve!