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Give the audience a seat at the table

“A transparent and more inclusive process, especially when combined with a more equitable distribution of power, is one of the best ways to build relationships that are based on mutual respect and, most importantly, trust.”

People want to participate. Let them.

I think we’ll see more community involvement in the everyday operations and decisions of both large and small newsrooms. That might take any number of different forms, but I imagine it will include various attempts at more community-driven story selection, or perhaps experiments in participatory budgeting and cooperative ownership.

The movement toward more community engagement in journalism has continued to pick up steam over the last several years, and it seems inevitable that this trend will continue. Participation is the logical next step.

It’s been proven time and again that people want to participate. They want to be involved in the decisions — editorial, business, and otherwise — that newsrooms make. A transparent and more inclusive process, especially when combined with a more equitable distribution of power, is one of the best ways to build relationships that are based on mutual respect and, most importantly, trust.

Trust, as always, is a crucial and indispensable ingredient in any recipe for good journalism, and I can’t think of a better way to earn the trust of your community than to give them a seat at the table and a say in how their news gets made.

Joe Amditis is associate director of the Center for Cooperative Media.

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