Mainstream media in Ohio — what should they do with and for the public?

Engagement ideas applicable to Ohio news outlets

Journalists are exploring new ways to better represent people in their communities. Below are some Ohio and national examples. Anyone have suggestions for topics? Have questions for the news outlets in your community? Ask and we’ll forward to the news organization.

Next week, a Mansfield news startup will hold a party to battle infant mortality

The Richland Source is receiving support from the Solutions Journalism Network for an educational event on healthy babies – a community-wide baby shower. SoJo encourages media to find  proven best practices and present them to the community,  and cover the citizens as they put those practices into their lives.

Equipping inmates to do journalism (No, this is not a newsroom joke)

The folks at WYSO, an NPR affiliate in Yellow Springs, produced a powerful series of audio reports on women in prison by training the women to interview each other. Inmates had a bond that allowed them to ask powerful questions and receive honest answers. As station manager Neenah Ellis said, this was a lot of work; not something you do on a whim.

If you have only a few minutes, listen to this one about a high school athlete who became hooked on opioids after a sports injury, or this high school teacher, who will never stand in a classroom again.

Better: Listen to the entire project. About 59 minutes.

Examples of community engagement projects for your local news outlet, from the Democracy Fund:

  • What’s With Washington? WAMU crowdsources questions specific to the Washington, D.C. metro area for investigation. Listeners and readers vote on questions and can join reporters to work on the story.
  • Dirty Little Secrets. The Center for Investigative Reporting (CIR) is leading this large-scale collaborative investigative reporting project in New Jersey focused on “the local impacts of New Jersey’s toxic legacy.” Contributors include New Jersey Public Radio/ WNYC, WHYY, NJTV, NJ Spotlight, Jersey Shore Hurricane News, WBGO, New Brunswick Today, and the Rutgers Department of Journalism and Media Studies. WFMU additionally commissioned comedians to create stand-up routines sourced from the stories about contamination. They performed in a Toxic Comedy tour that included discussions with reporters.
  • Here’s the complete report and list of ideas.

Kudos to the Your Voice Ohio engagement leaders at the Jefferson Center.

ABC News Australia reported on citizens juries and their role in redefining one of the most controversial and explosive topics people can discuss: Health care. The Jefferson Center is among the first to experiment with carefully selected, representative bodies of citizens to deliberate on a topic and arrive at workable solutions. Jefferson Center secured our funding last year and this year. Program Director Andrew Rockway is designing the heroin conversations that will occur in the Mahoning Valley.