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Feb. 22, 2017, 12:27 p.m.
Audience & Social
LINK: medium.com  ➚   |   Posted by: Shan Wang   |   February 22, 2017

Looking for a sounding board for your audience engagement idea? Looking to trawl through case studies of other newsrooms’ successful community engagement projects for ideas for your own?

The Agora Journalism Center at the School of Journalism and Communication (SOJC) at the University of Oregon is launching a digital community that the launch team hopes will serve as a space for anyone interested in questions around how to make “journalism more responsive to the public’s needs, more representative of the public’s diversity, and more inclusive of the public’s voices.” The project, called Gather, is supported by the Knight Foundation and the Democracy Fund (disclosure: Knight is also a supporter of Nieman Lab):

Gather is a collection of searchable resources. It’s a place to learn (and borrow) from existing projects. It’s a hub for collaboration. It’s an advanced how-to guide for engagement vets and an on-ramp for newbies. It’s a digital meeting space where engaged journalism’s budding community of practice can continue to grow and evolve.

The nitty-gritty details are TBD, of course, because we’re still building Gather with FMYI [Gather’s tech partner] and our steering and advisory committees. But if you check back next week, we’ll tell you more about our overall approach to community development  —  and share some specifics about how that approach is shaping the platform’s design.

The platform is intended for everyone working in news in some capacity, so don’t be scared away if you don’t hold “audience engagement” or “community manager” titles:

You might be doing that work for a community news site with two employees, a daily newspaper with hundreds of employees, a university journalism program with thousands of students, or some organization we’ve never heard of. That part doesn’t matter to us. What matters is that you want to do engagement that’s relational and collaborative, not transactional and extractive. If that’s the case, consider yourself invited to Gather!

The platform is tentatively scheduled to launch to the public in May. If you’re interested in participating or have questions, you can reach out to Joy Mayer, the project’s community engagement lead.

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