Four people who have participated in civic journalism initiatives discussed the impact of those efforts.
Carol Lydon, Participant,
"Citizen Voices," Philadelphia
"Citizen Voices" brought everybody together. People had to listen to each other because we had to see the vision as a city vision rather than just a neighborhood vision.
By doing that, then we could go to the candidates and tell them what we wanted and what we wanted to hear from them. Like candidates, they want to say what they want to say. They say they want to hear what the citizens have to say, but more often than not they want to say, "Okay, thank you very much. We'll take that into consideration." That's it.
By our work, I think it really brought a focus to the mayor's race. People were able to ... make a real informed choice.
I think it really forced [candidates] to focus on things that were important to the citizens. They kept the race issue-focused rather than screaming insults at each other and throwing up a bunch of negative campaigns and not really getting anything done.
"Taking Back Our Neighborhoods," Charlotte
It's not often in your life you get to do what really is your passion and make a difference. The project, "Taking Back Our Neighborhoods," was nominated for a Pulitzer. But more important than that, to me, is that it really, really did make a difference in the neighborhoods that we touched.
Mike O'Neal, Founder,
Parent University, Savannah
The "Vision 2010" project provided an opportunity for people who had strong opinions to come together and work in a cooperative mode. It also imparted that rare commodity in a community - hope that we can do something positive.
It also gave the community ownership of change. Even though we realize that the Savannah Morning News is a large and powerful entity, from the beginning we realized that what we were talking about had to somehow translate into a grassroots community initiative. In fact, it has done that.
Wallace Pruitt, Seversville
neighborhood leader, Charlotte
The doors were opened seven years ago by The Charlotte Observer. They came in and did a great story on the community. The only thing we had to do was follow up because the groundwork was already there.
We published a wish list because we didn't have anything, nowhere for the kids to go ... Out of that, blessings started to fall our way because people really cared a lot about this neighborhood.