Newsrooms that say they are succeeding at the ‘two-way street’ are mostly lying

new post from me at GigaOM: “Memo to newspapers: The future of media is a two-way street” tip @mediagazerWed Aug 17 22:17:07 via TweetDeck

Even if newsrooms don’t want to adopt Joy Mayer’s value statements listed below, this should be something newsrooms are discussing. Many journalists are still very uncomfortable with the “two-way street” idea. Mayer has spent a year on a Reynolds Journalism Institute fellowship doing research and producing guidance on audience engagement.

The value statements from her latest report:

Our core audience feels a connection with us.

We actively reach beyond our core audience.

We appear to be and actually are accessible, as a newsroom
and as individual journalists.

Individual community members feel invited into our processes and products
and encouraged to help shape our agenda.

We find ways to listen to and be in continual conversation with our community.

We continually alter what we cover, and how, based on what the audience
responds to.

It is easy for community members to share their expertise and experiences,
and we value their contributions.

We amplify community voices besides our own.

We invest in our community and are seen as a community resource.

Our content reaches the audience where, when and how it’s most useful
or meaningful.

There are a variety of ways users can act on, share and react to our news
and information.


  1. I can understand why some journalists would be uncomfortable with some of this, and to be honest the sound of it kind of rubs me the wrong way as a reader, but I think the author is right. The web has changed reader expectations. I can get my news just about anywhere these days. What I want from a local newspaper is what I can’t get elsewhere — local coverage. And there’s no reason not to use one of the web’s strengths (bringing people with something to say to an audience that wants to hear) to do that. I’m not really talking about people just spouting off political views and opinions — that is also something we can get elsewhere on the web. I mean actual local information and news that is hard to gather if you’re just visiting a location when something happens.

  2. Community engagement is really hard to do well and takes more effort than most news organizations want to put into it. I agree that unique local content is a key, but I have noticed that people often like to discuss some issues/stories in their local community. They may not be local stories, but the conversation creates a local interest, particularly as commenters become part of a “local community” of known people (either by their user name or real name).

  3. Although I frequently give the Knoxville News Sentinel a hard time, I give them credit for doing an excellent job on these points.
    You can go down the list and check each one as having been successfully implemented, and sustained, by the KNS.
    Jack Lail and his crew are a large part of that, and editor Jack McElroy is all about this stuff.
    The publisher could maybe work a little on the fourth principle (feeling invited to help shape the agenda) in terms of local politics. I think people may feel invited to speak up, but we wonder sometimes if the suits in the corner offices only listen to the good ol’ boy powers that be.

Comments are closed.