ProPublica’s ‘Get Involved’ Aims to Spur More Crowd-Powered News

Amanda Zamora at ProPublica: “…As journalists, our role is to gather the news and report it as objectively and artfully as possible. But anyone watching knows our journalism isn’t limited to the pages we produce each day. Our readers are grateful for the work we do, but they want to know what can be done to make things better. They’re clamoring for action.

One way we facilitate action is by asking people to tell us what we don’t know. These “callouts” are a standing feature of Get Involved, which offers our readers the opportunity to share stories, and to connect with us and with each other. With more than 10,300 contributions since 2009, our callouts have become a growing resource for our reporters and the backbone of our community-building efforts. We hear regularly from people thanking us for simply taking an interest in them. People who want to get their stories out. People who want to see change.

Which leaves us asking ourselves: How can we do better by those who entrust their stories to us? How can we channel their passions and perspectives into meaningful action? And how can we connect readers not only to each other, but also to our colleagues in newsrooms across the country?

I’m excited to say these are questions we’ll be tackling over the next year with the support of Knight Foundation. One of our first areas of focus will be revamping Get Involved to better serve our partners in journalism. We’re not the only ones enlisting the help of audiences to tell important stories. The Guardian’s crowd-sourced police shootings project, The Counted, is just one recent example. There are many collaborative journalism efforts in the United States and around the world that we hope to both learn from and share with our community. We’ll be open-sourcing even more resources from our own investigations, but also facilitating outreach among fellow journalists using digital tools to tell stories with and for their communities.

We’re starting today with the creation of the Crowd-Powered News Network, a forum for journalists and others proactively engaging communities in storytelling to share ideas, practical support and best practices….(More)”