By Peggy Holman
I was recently asked to write something about what Journalism That Matters has learned about engagement so that news organizations considering it can do so in a more informed way.
A continuum immediately formed in my mind that led to creating a table of different ways that engagement has been used by news organizations.
FORMS OF ENGAGEMENT
One to many——————–Many to many
|Presentations & Panels||Town Halls, Surveys||New Styles of Storytelling||Information Exchanges||Collaborative Actions|
|Information out||Public comment||More voices, options, ideas||Collective intelligence of a group||Broadly embraced systemic action|
|Benefits||Expert perspectives better understood||Public perspectives expressed||More nuanced understanding of different perspectives||Cultivates relationships and mutual understanding||Shared action that meets the needs of diverse individuals and the system –community, organization — as a whole
|Power & Participation
(who sets the agenda, provides content, and interprets it?)
|Hosts set the agenda, experts provide the content and interpret it.||Hosts set the agenda, individuals provide the content, experts or hosts interpret it.||Hosts may lightly set the agenda with a theme. Or individuals set their own agenda.
Individuals provide content and interpret it.
|Hosts, sometimes a mix of diverse partners, lightly set agenda with a theme. Individuals and experts provide content, interpretation is done collaboratively.||
Hosts, usually a mix of diverse partners, lightly set the agenda with a theme and involve people from different aspects of a system. People from the “whole system” provide content and interpret it collaboratively.
|Examples||St. Louis Public Radio #BeyondFerguson event||
|Unite Rochester Listening Tour||We Create Here Affordable Housing|
|Approaches||Q&A||Public Insight Network||Comments||
When a colleague pointed me to the International Association of Public Participation’s (IAP2) “Spectrum of Engagement,” I knew I was on to something. IAP2 focuses on improving and supporting public participation practitioners by advancing and advocating for public participation. Their spectrum was remarkably complementary to my table! I added their goals to the table and offer this draft for comment. Some questions to consider:
· How might you use it as you consider engagement activities in your community?
· Do you have examples or approaches to add?
· Other dimensions would you like to see included?
If you’re considering bringing engagement to your newsroom and want to look beyond the panels and presentations that inform, but aren’t sure how, let’s talk!