Twelve News Organizations Picked for Civic Mapping Seminars

Washington, D.C., March 23, 2000 -- Twelve news organizations from 11 cities have been selected to participate in this year's Harwood Civic Mapping Seminars, a training opportunity to help journalists tap different layers of community life and expand their Rolodex of sources and voices, the Pew Center for Civic Journalism announced today.

The seminars will build on the first training sessions, launched last year and taught by the Harwood Institute for Public Innovation.

This year's seminars will be accompanied by an updated version of the highly popular workbook, "Tapping Civic Life. How to Report First, and Best, What's Happening in Your Community." The new workbook draws on the experiences of last year's mapping participants in improving their community coverage.

A ToolKit that includes videos and newsroom training manuals will accompany the second edition of the workbook.

Attending the spring seminars in April and May are reporter-editor teams from: the Detroit Free Press; The Deseret News and KSL-TV, both in Salt Lake City; the Wisconsin State Journal in Madison; the Star-Gazette in Elmira, NY, and The News-Star in Monroe, LA.

Attending the summer sessions in June and July are: The Oregonian; The Seattle Times; the Savannah Morning News; The Ithaca (NY) Journal; The Times Leader of Wilkes-Barre, PA, and the Bradenton (FL) Herald.

The participants proposed mapping a broad range of communities - from geographic communities, such as environmentally degraded industrial towns, to communities of interest, such as inner-city crime victims. Many of the news organizations want to report better on new suburban communities that are springing up on the fringes of their readership areas. Others want to do a better job of covering minority communities in their core circulation areas. The Deseret News and KSL-TV want to cover the 2002 Olympic games as a community.

"We learned last year that reporters and editors experience some major epiphanies when they actually get out in their communities and systematically peel back the complex layers of formal and informal leadership," said Jan Schaffer, Executive Director of the Pew Center for Civic Journalism.

"When the journalists tapped the 'Go-To' people who often make communities work, they got new stories and better stories, new voices and better sources."

The mapping seminars will be taught by Richard C. Harwood, Founder and President of The Harwood Institute. "If news organizations want to report with greater authenticity and authority, then they need to tap deeper into the civic life of their communities," says Harwood. "After all, that's where much news comes from."

The civic mapping work is based on frameworks and research in newsrooms and communities by The Harwood Institute, a Bethesda, MD, public issues research and innovation firm. The Institute has worked with the American Society of Newspaper Editors' Journalism Values Institute and with newspapers across the country to help journalists examine their mission within their communities and adjust daily routines and reflexes to report and frame stories better.

The Pew Center for Civic Journalism is a research and development center for better ways of reporting the news so that it helps to re-engage people in public life. It supports innovative journalism and shares the results through workshops, publications and videos. The Center was created in 1993 as the centerpiece of The Pew Charitable Trusts' initiative to stimulate citizen involvement in community issues.

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