The Funded Project:

Pilot a network of “context” creators (rather than content creators) to help reporters/editors cover the region with nuance and depth that prevents extractive storytelling, stereotypes and simplistic narratives. Produce toolkit with guidelines on how – and how not to – cover the region for release for the 2020 election year cycle.

In Their Own Words:

Unlike other experiments in civic journalism, this project targets a different aspect of the journalism enterprise – community members as editors. We are seeking to pilot a network of “context” creators (rather than content creators) to help reporters/editors cover the region using community-vetted, relevant context, language, imagery, music, etc with nuance and depth that prevents extractive storytelling, stereotypes and simplistic narratives. We will offer this editorial advisory board as a service to external-to-the-region media, and we’ll produce a Reporters and Editors Toolkit with guidelines on how – and how not to – cover the region for release for the 2020 election year cycle. This toolkit will also identify regional reporters and photographers for national outlets to hire instead of parachuting in.

The board will be comprised of local citizens – teachers, workers, parents, first-responders – members of communities with deep local knowledge who will provide nonpartisan context, accuracy and insight for how and why media get stories wrong in their communities. We will train (and pay) these committed citizens in techniques/tools of the editorial process, including news judgment, law and ethics, photo editing, verification, etc, as a way to help build trust with and engage citizens in the decision-making processes of journalism.

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