A bout 100 print and electronic journalists met in Indianapolis June 1-3 for a workshop on "Civic Reporting: Journalism for a New America." The workshop was a joint effort of the Pew Center and the Radio and Television News Directors Foundation.
Keynote speakers included Michael Oreskes, assistant managing editor of electronic news for The New York Times, and Paul Overberg, database editor for USA Today.
Executive Editor, The Chronicle-Tribune, Marion, IN
"Back it up with numbers, tell it with people," advised Metzger. "The biggest weakness in long-term projects is that too many are based on anecdotal information." She also urged participants not to miss important moments. "Months of reporting will boil down to a few key moments," she said.
Emilio Nicolas Jr.,
Vice President and General Manager, KVDA-TV, San Antonio, TX
"At KVDA, we had blown it in two languages," Nicolas said, citing the Telemundo station's failure to connect with both Hispanic and Anglo viewers. The station's current project with in-home Web cams seeks to involve more citizen views. "This is a newscast to effect positive change in our community. Civic journalism, even activist journalism, is what sets us apart in our market."
Reporter, WFLA-TV, Tampa, FL
Douglas uses an electronic Rolodex like a Palm Pilot to collect names and bits of information on people he interviews. He can now access more than 900 sources, about 50 of whom are "official sources." Those sources help him verify officials' claims and support investigative reporting.
Executive Director, Pacific News Service, San Francisco
"What happens when you look at communications as bringing people together who ordinarily would not hold conversations with one another?" asked Close. San Francisco's Asian media realized if they added their cumulative circulations, they were bigger than The Examiner or the San Francisco Chronicle. Thus an ethnic media network was born.
Assistant Metro Editor, The Press-Enterprise, Riverside, CA
"We looked at civic mapping as a way to change our mind-set about community news." She cautioned, however, "It's easy [for mapping] to get back burnered, unless there's someone to help pull it to the front lines."
Community Affairs Director, WTHR-TV, Indianapolis
In "The People's Agenda," a convergence project with the Indianapolis Star, "our goal was to have a positive impact on the community and to promote the concerns that matter to our community most."