2002


Neighbor to Neighbor, Cincinnati, OH 2001

Partners:

The Cincinnati Enquirer,
WCET-TV (PBS),
WCPO-TV (CBS),
WKRC-TV (ABC),
WLWT-TV (NBC),
Kettering Foundation,
National Issues Forum

A year of extraordinary racial tension in Cincinnati in 2001 prompted an extraordinary response by the city's media, led by the Enquirer, which collaborated on a project that involved 2,000 local residents in solutions-oriented conversations about race.

The paper had begun focusing on race even before rioting broke out in Cincinnati, publishing a race project March 4, 2001 - just five weeks before mobs took to the streets over the shooting of an unarmed black teenager by a white policeman. With Pew support, the paper worked with its partners to go beyond traditional reporting and facilitate crucial citizen-to-citizen communication.

The partners started the project with a poll in August 2001 of 1,112 adults in Greater Cincinnati. A five-part series, "Divided by Race," Sept. 2-6, looked at the stark divide between black and white responses. WCPO hosted a panel discussion with live studio audiences in three parts of the viewing area.

The partners followed up the initial reporting project with a second, more solutions-oriented project, "Neighbor to Neighbor." During October, partners announced an effort to bring together groups of neighbors to discuss race and possibly take some action toward reconciliation. Readers were encouraged to sign up for a session online or through a clip-and-send coupon in the paper. Neighborhood-based conversations began Nov. 11. On Nov. 25, the paper ran its first repot on what people were saying. More readers signed up.

Within four months, some 130 conversations had been held, involving more than 2,000 people. Nearly half the participants held follow-up meetings on their own. One group was meeting regularly. Several of the groups had developed recommendations for action and were exploring joint services between black and white churches and opening lines of communication between neighborhood groups and police. All the major media in Cincinnati, acting as the Cincinnati Media Collaborative, covered the conversations in regular reports or special programming. The Enquirer started regular features, including "Diversity Success Stories" and a weekend "Diversity Report Card" on how the effort was progressing.

To extend the reach of the conversation, the Collaborative partners started a book project, "On the Same Page," aimed at getting residents to read the same book and attend a discussion group about it. The book chosen was "A Lesson Before Dying" by Ernest Gaines. The effort culminated when Gaines visited Cincinnati in April for a live call-in show on WCET.


Contact:

Rosemary J. Goudreau
Managing Editor
The Cincinnati Enquirer
312 Elm Street
Cincinnati, OH 45202-2410
Phone: (513) 768-8311
Email: rgoudreau@enquirer.com



Home for Good, Huntington, WV 2001

Partners:

The Herald-Dispatch
West Virginia Public Broadcasting
WMUL-FM

The out-migration of young people from West Virginia was as accepted as the export of its coal until the partners explored the consequences in "Home for Good," a project that included a six-part newspaper series, radio reports, a televised public forum and an interactive Web site.

One of the initial challenges, finding those who had left, was nearly solved with a virtual focus group online. The Herald-Dispatch persuaded papers statewide to run an ad around Christmas Day 2001 - when former residents would most likely be visiting - asking them to contact the paper and fill out a brief questionnaire. Four-hundred people responded, creating an instant database of the diaspora. The paper emailed each one a link to a longer survey, asking why they left and what it would take to get them back; 147 people answered.

A scientific survey of 404 West Virginians added more information about how young people view the state. The paper met with two advisory panels - one made up of state and university officials, the other composed of young adults ages 18-34 - to help shape the series. Newspaper and radio reports began April 28, 2002 and ran daily until May 3, 2002. They included stories about why young people leave, where they go, why some return, how West Virginia culture and stereotypes affect their decision and measures the state could take to stem the migration. The Herald-Dispatch offered the series to papers statewide; all or part of it ran in 11 other newspapers.

West Virginia Public Broadcasting televised a live forum featuring young West Virginians and a special Web site, www.homeforgood.org, featured forums, live chats and interactive graphics that charted migration patterns.

State officials responded to the series, drafting legislation to encourage young people to stay, such as tax credits to help offset student loans. The project also gave new energy to a five-year plan the state devised to diversify the state's economy, after the series showed many of the measures in the plan had stalled.


Contact:

Len LaCara
Former Managing Editor
Herald-Dispatch
Huntington, WV
Phone: (304) 526-2779
Email: llacara@aol.com

Beth Gorczyca
Reporter
Herald-Dispatch
946 5th Ave.
Huntington, WV 25701
Phone: (304) 526-2772
Email: bethg@herald-dispatch.com



Water. The Power. The Profit. Savannah, GA 2002

Partners:

The Savannah Morning News, Savannahnow.com
Georgia Public Radio

With the Georgia legislature expected to set statewide water policy in its 2003 session, the partners launched "Water: The Power. The Profit," a year-long series on the Savannah River, to encourage citizen participation in the debate.

A poll of 724 people in the seven counties around the river conducted in April and May of 2002 showed few of the residents had begun to focus on water resources and had little knowledge of the issues surrounding water availability and its impact on development and the regional economy. The Morning News launched its four-part series on Saturday, June 8, 2002, laying out the issues and inviting participation in a July 16 town hall forum. More than 60 people attended and agreed that the region needs to monitor better how much water its uses and that water management should be regional, rather than done at the state or local level. There was also an across the spectrum fear of Atlanta's appetite for water and its possible reach into the Savannah River. The paper continued periodic packages on water issues, leading up to an October forum in which 35 people discussed regional water management issues.

Online, Savannahnow.com offered a "water use calculator" that allowed users to figure out how much water they use and to compare their use with that of users in Chatham or Effingham Counties. The Web site also solicited feedback on the series and provided links to other resources and a sign-up form for the public forums.

With its goal of amplifying citizen voices in the 2003 legislative debate, the project was set to wrap up in the spring of 2003 with a final poll to study the impact of the series itself on how much respondents knew about water resource issues.


Contact:

Dan Suwyn
Managing Editor
Savannah Morning News
PO Box 1088
Savannah, GA 31402-1088
Phone: (912) 652-0322
Email: dsuwyn@savannahnow.com



Under One Roof, Washington, DC 2001

Partners:

Black Entertainment Television (BET),
BET.com

After decades of reporting about the African-American family by white news organizations or think tanks, BET - Black Entertainment Television - tackled the subject in a civic journalism project that combined the forces of the popular cable service's new newscast and its online division, BET.com. "Under One Roof" was a year-long project that included weekly reports on BET Nightly News tied to interactive features on the Web site.

The project kicked off in November 2001 with a national poll of 724 African-American adults on a wide range of issues from educational aspirations to rap music. The sometimes surprising results won national attention. A majority of those polled agreed with the statement that black men have failed their families, and more than two-thirds said American blacks place too much importance on material possessions. The poll generated stories about the project in the San Francisco Chronicle and other papers and prompted the group 100 Black Men of America to build a town hall forum around the project. Several hundred people, including elected officials and community leaders, attended the forum in Orlando in June 2002. It was taped for broadcast on the Minority Broadcast Company (MBC) cable network.

Weekly reports covered topics such as the impact of high rates of incarceration on black families and black students who were the first in their families to attend college. The Web site hosted message boards where dozens of viewers reacted to the reports. BET.com also previewed topics being explored on the Nightly News and asked users to share their own stories on the issues, which helped guide the television reports. In April and May, the Web site conducted a pop up poll on the Under One Roof page that asked users to rank their top priorities on a number of issues such as education and economic development. Some 30,000 responses were received. The results of the poll were sent to the Congressional Black Caucus.

The project finale was an interactive map the Web site launched in October 2002. Users could navigate it to judge the quality of life for black families in 22 major American cities. The map was assembled over six months using statistics from the U.S. Departments of Labor, Education, Health and Justice and 2000 census data. Online researchers concluded Columbus, OH and Houston, TX had the highest quality of life for blacks, with Baltimore and St. Louis at the bottom. The map allowed users to see how the ratings were decided and comment on them. Dozens of users wrote in, many either to question Boston's high ranking in third place or defend Chicago, which tied with Milwaukee for 18th.

The project won Best Online News Project from the National Association of Black Journalists and a Cable Positive Award. Its success encouraged BET online and the Nightly News to continue to collaborate on civic journalism projects, including a look at black wealth and a discussion of reparations for slavery.


Contact:

Retha Hill
Vice President, Content, BET.com
BET
2000 M Street, NW - Suite 602
Washington, DC 20036
Phone: (202) 533-1914
Email: retha.hill@bet.net



Redistricting Game, Rochester, NY 2001

Partners:

Nycitizens.org
and public television stations WXXI, WPBS, WCNY, WNET, WLIW, WMHT, WCFE, WSKG, WNEDWNED

Nine public television stations collaborated on NYcitizens.org, a Web site dedicated to helping New Yorkers understand and become engaged in the process of redrawing congressional districts through an online game and other interactive features. The partners launched the Web site in the fall of 2001 as the state legislature began the redistricting process, including simple explanations of the politics and processes involved in the task. They found a way to give users a first-hand look at the complexities, however, in February 2002, when they added the Redistricting Game.

The role-playing game allowed users to be one of six different kinds of stakeholders in the redistricting process. For example, a player might take on the role of a white Republican state legislator interested in advancing Republican candidates at the state and national level. Or the player could choose to be an African-American Democratic Party official interested in both electing Democrats and getting more African-Americans elected to Congress. The Center for Governmental Research helped the partners develop realistic roles for the game.

After picking a role, players were led to a grid where they could draw districts based on their demographics and politics with actual census information guiding their decisions. The game worked by certain rules, just as the actual process does. For example, players were unable to create districts that were obviously gerrymandered. Players were told how the districts they created would likely fare in the real world.

The partners created an online curriculum for 12th grade social studies classes to give the game greater participation. They also posted essays from key federal and state lawmakers on redistricting and invited users to post their own essays in response. The site also hosted message boards and links to other resources. The partners said they got positive feedback but could not determine how many users had visited. They planned to keep the site active with other applications, such as an Election Finder that would help users find their local polling places, after the redistricting process was complete.


Contact:

Gary Walker
VP of Television
WXXI-TV
280 State St - PO Box 30021
Rochester, NY 14603-3021
Phone: (585) 258-0241
Email: gwalker@wxxi.org

Elissa Marra
Director of National Productions
WXXI-TV
280 State St
Rochester, NY 14614
Phone: (716) 258-0349
Email: emarra@wxxi.org



Building Community from Diversity, Santa Ana, CA 2002

Partners:

The Orange County Register, OCRegister.com
Excelsior
Myoc.com

Reporters developed a deep understanding of the Latino population in the Santa Ana readership area with a community mapping project that included a phone survey, an academic cultural study and a dynamic database of sources structured to stay useful even as reporters move on and off the beat.

The Register announced its mapping project to the community with fliers sent to 750 Santa Ana community groups and through messages sent to community email networks. Then a team of two project leaders, two reporters and a news assistant began the process of in-depth, face-to-face interviews with 100 community members. They also compiled detailed lists of "third places" in the community, where people go to attend to issues important to them and their families and neighborhoods.

The information was entered into a database of community resources used as a newsroom tool. It is cross-referenced by each person's interest, role in the community and particular affiliation. A hyperlink in each entry connects to the original interview with the source so that the reporter-user can understand the background and context of an issue and the source's involvement with it over time.

The information was also entered on a literal map, posted in the newsroom and updated each week with stickies showing new places the team found and lists of community assets. The team created a video so the whole staff could learn how to use these resources.

In September 2002, the paper conducted a survey in Spanish of 209 Latino homes in Santa Ana to learn more about life in the community. Meanwhile, a doctoral candidate from the California State University-Fullerton conducted a cultural study of one Santa Ana neighborhood. The paper published stories reporting the results of the survey and study but, more importantly, the project uncovered interesting stories from the community. For example, the Register covered an annual reunion of Mexican American alumni who desegregated a Santa Ana school in the 1950's after learning about it through an interview. The database also enriched the reporting of other stories. A November 2002 story about immigration done by the paper's Washington bureau benefited from Santa Ana sources found in the database.


Contact:

Dennis Foley (former Ombudsman for The Orange County Register)
County Government Reporter
The Orange County Register
PO Drawer 11626
Santa Ana, CA 92711-1626
Phone: (714) 285-2862
Email: dfoley@ocregister.com



First Amendment Forum, Pittsburgh, PA 2001

Partners:

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
KDKA-TV
KDKA-AM
Pennsylvania Newspapers Association

The Pennsylvania legislature passed a new, more liberal open-records law in the summer of 2002 after a 10-month effort by the partners to encourage citizens to use public records to make government accountable and accomplish community goals. Post-Gazette editor Jane Elizabeth did not give the project full credit for the new law but she said, "We certainly didn't hurt it."

The effort began Oct. 13, 2001, when 300 people attended a "First Amendment Forum" in downtown Pittsburgh to learn how to gain access to public records and meetings. On evaluation forms, they gave the event an average score of 4.3 on a scale of one to five. The paper learned where citizens needed help most and developed sources for reporting on the issue.

In March 2002, the partners launched a First Amendment Web page devoted to helping citizens gain access to public records and public meetings through the state Sunshine Law and the Freedom of Information Act. Along with tips, resources and links to more information, the site featured a news story every month about the experience of an individual or grass roots organization trying to use the laws. The stories were also published in the Post-Gazette's community editions. Users could post comments and communicate with one another through a site bulletin board The site received an average of 3,600 visits a month through the summer.

Once the new law was passed, the site geared up to explain the new law and help citizens use it. The partners also produced a pamphlet on the new law and mailed it to every municipal office in the region. The paper found that secretaries, clerks and administrative assistants were often the biggest impediments to open records, simply because they didn't understand the law and would deny access that should have been granted. The pamphlet was intended to educate these frontline record keepers on the new provisions. When the project ended, the Pennsylvania Newspaper Association took over the Web site.


Contact:

Jane Elizabeth
Education Editor
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
34 Boulevard of the Allies
Pittsburgh, PA 15222
Phone: (412) 263-1510
Email: jelizabeth@post-gazette.com



Your Neighborhood, Your Future, Portland, OR 2001

Partners:

KGW-TV (NBC), KGW.com
Portland Tribune
Beaverton Valley Times
Tigard Times
Gresham Outloo
Clackamas Review

As elected planning officials in the Portland area began seeking public input on a long-term growth plan, the media partners launched a project to inform citizens and engage their interest in the process. "Your Neighborhood, Your Future" included dozens of TV and print stories about crucial growth issues. A poll and a town meeting provided a barometer of public opinion on the issues.

The project started Oct. 1, 2001, with a KGW story about growing pains in the region. Print partners followed with similar stories. Meanwhile, the partners commissioned a poll of 400 Portland area residents on growth, traffic, schools and the economy. The poll surfaced some surprising contradictions. Respondents worried about the economy and favored incentives to attract new business even as they expressed concerns about too many newcomers. They supported the urban growth boundary but opposed higher density development in cities. They wanted to ease traffic congestion but didn't want to pay for transportation projects.

Stories continued to run from October to March, explaining the impact of growth and the trade-offs involved in related issues. KGW's Web site offered an interactive feature that allowed users to type in their address and see how regional growth plans for 2040 would affect their neighborhood. The site also offered a slide show on growth plans for the next four decades.

The project culminated in a one-hour Town Hall Discussion on growth issues, March 15, 2002, broadcast live on KGW. A panel of local elected officials, neighborhood leaders, businessmen and citizens took questions from a studio audience of about 100 people. The meeting coincided with the wrap-up conference of the elected planning officials on Metro. When, later that year, Metro proposed expanding the urban growth boundary by 15,000 acres - the largest expansion in more than 20 years - KGW news director Rod Gramer said he believed the project had played an important part in furthering public discussion of the issue.


Contact:

Rod Gramer
Executive News Director
KGW-TV
1501 SW Jefferson St.
Portland, OR 97201-2549
Phone: (503) 226-5079



Dropping Out: Why students leave Decatur schools, Decatur, IL 2001

Partners:

Herald & Review
WILL-TV (PBS)
WILL-AM

"Dropping Out: Why students leave Decatur schools" was a civic journalism project that involved citizens, including those who'd never finished high school, in developing ideas to help keep students in school through graduation.

In November 2001, the partners commissioned a survey of 102 adults who had dropped out of Decatur public schools in the previous 40 years. For many of the respondents, it was the first time they had ever been asked why they'd left. Their answers pointed to some concrete steps for retention programs. One-third said additional help from a teacher or administrator might have kept them in school. Another third said more interesting classes would have helped.

The Herald & Review reported the results in a three-part series that kicked off on Jan. 27, 2002. Radio reports began on WILL-AM on Jan. 28. The reporting project coincided with the creation of the Decatur Joint Dropout Task Force, a community coalition focused on providing at-risk youth with support to stay in school. Task force members were invited to participate, along with school officials, in a March 21 town meeting on the drop-out problem, co-sponsored by the paper and the local NAACP chapter. Nearly 200 people attended and so many lined up to ask questions the scheduled 90-minute meeting lasted for more than two hours. The paper also identified community members to take part in a live call-in show broadcast April 17 from WILL-TV's studio in Urbana.

The partners chartered a bus to take the participants, citizens and school officials from Decatur to Urbana on the night of the broadcast. The ride itself proved to be an important part of the project, as it became a brainstorming session for possible solutions.

One element of the project that turned out to be less successful than hoped was a program to open banks of computers on weekends for drop-outs to fill out a brief survey and be connected with community resources for job training and GED classes. The partners publicized the program through the paper and fliers delivered to several social service agencies. The program operated for only two weekends and was abandoned when, after four days, only nine people had participated. Overall, though, the partners considered the project a success, with school officials and the Task Force developing innovative ideas to tackle the drop-out problem with input from the survey, town hall and live broadcast.


Contact:

Jan Touney
Associate Editor
Herald & Review
601 E. Williams Street
Decatur, IL 62525
Phone: (217) 421-6973
Email: jtouney@herald-review.com



A Duty to Protect, Tacoma, WA 2001

Partners:

The News Tribune
KCTS-TV (PBS)
KPLU-FM

The Washington state legislature was poised in January 2002 to limit lawsuits that could be brought by victims of crimes committed by prisoners on parole until a poll commissioned by the partners showed 90 percent of the state supported the victims' right to sue. The measure was tabled, a sign of success for a project that sought to inject citizens' voices into the debate over what to do about the state parole system.

The partners undertook the project "A Duty to Protect" in 2001, when the state spent $53 million dollars in judgments or settlements for lawsuits stemming from parolee crime - almost as much as it spent to monitor parolees. It was clear the parole system needed reform but it was not clear what form that should take.

The partners surveyed 400 Washington residents in October and November to see where they stood on the issue. They found most wanted to retain the right to sue and less than half supported caps on damages.

The poll became the basis for a series of reports that began Jan. 7, 2002 on KCTS-TV's "Currents" public affairs program. KPLU-FM and The News Tribune each began a three-part series on Jan.13 to coincide with the start of the legislative session. The partners also collaborated on a Web site, www.adutytoprotect.org, that included the survey, a forum on parole issues and links to lawmakers and parole organizations around the country.

The legislature did take limited reform action in 2002. It passed a measure that would allow state agencies to investigate parole system failures without fear the reports would be used in litigation. Fear of litigation had kept the state from conducting meaningful investigations. It was hoped the new bill would allow the state to learn from its mistakes.


Contact:

Peggy Bellows
Senior Editor
News Tribune
1950 S. State St.
Tacoma, WA 98405-0008
Phone: (253) 597-8456
Email: peggy.bellows@mail.tribnet.com



Reinventing Beat Reporting, Spokane, WA 2002

Partners:

The Spokesman-Review, spokesmanreview.com

Pew support allowed the paper to experiment with interactive on-line journalism tools that improved connections between reporters and readers and users. One of the most successful tools was an automated email system that was being widely used by reporters and editors within months of being created in early 2002. The system allows reporters to send out queries to a large database of readers and users. By the end of 2002, the Spokesman-Review's database had 4,000 names in it. This was used in many ways.

For example, a reporter working on the Sept.11 anniversary story asked readers to share their thoughts about the events of that day. She found the best sources, including the person in the lead, through responses to her email. Another reporter covering the controversy over hormone replacement therapy found valuable sources though an email sent to women over 50.

Also in 2002, the paper moved to Blogs (Web logs) to interact with readers on stories of broad interest. A blog on the State B basketball championship was wildly popular with fans and even some players who were able to interact with the site in real time. A similar approach made coverage of a vote on the incorporation of a new city more engaging. Turn-out in the election was higher than predicted by local officials.

Another new feature the paper's Web site began offering in the summer of 2002 consisted of multi-media, on-line obits: feature-length profiles of recently deceased local residents, including a slide show of family pictures with background audio from a family member talking about the deceased. Public response was extremely positive.

The paper lacked the software to count how many users were going to the newly added features but traffic to the site was increasing through 2002. And the ideas were spreading to other papers. Interactive editor Ken Sands helped 27 newspapers involved in the Associated Press Managing Editors (APME) Credibility Roundtable to install some version of the database email system. He expected the tools the paper created to lead to continued innovation, including a portable producing station for creating real time, multi-media coverage of events.


Contact:

Ken Sands
Managing Editor, Online and New Media
The Spokesman-Review
999 W. Riverside Ave.
Spokane, WA 99201
Phone: (509) 459-5014
Email: kens@spokesman.com



Talking Race: A New Approach, Dallas, TX 2002

Partners:

WFAA-TV (ABC)

In "Talking Race: A New Approach," WFAA wanted to do just that - try something entirely new in encouraging discussions about race. Intrigued by the concept of "video boxes" - portable, self-contained, user-activated TV cameras that have shown an ability to elicit amazingly candid remarks - the station placed its version of the devices in shopping malls in the Dallas area and asked people two questions: What do you think of race relations in America? When did you become most aware of race?

The station used the responses as a jumping-off point for a three-part series and an interactive Web page. It also shared the responses with the Dallas Morning News, which used the "interviews" on the cover and several inside pages of its Sunday Reader section on the first day of the series, Sunday, June 30, 2002.

In addition to the video boxes, the station invited public response to its questions on race through the Web page www.wfaa.com/dialogureonrace. The Web page also asked users to answer one of the following questions: "As a person of color, what responsibility are you willing to take to help reach better understanding between the races?" or "As a white person, what responsibility are you willing to accept for past racial injustice and apply toward a better understanding between the races?" Nearly two dozen non-whites answered the first question and 30 white users answered the second. The full responses were posted on the site along with several of the unedited video box responses, links to other sites, the three-part series and an interview with a Utah-based academic who developed the "Mutual Responsibility Theory" of race relations. The page received 5,000 visits during the three days of the series.

To extend the reach of the series even further, the station involved two talk radio hosts - one with a largely African-American audience on KKDA-AM and one with a largely white, conservative audience on WBAP-AM - in its effort to foster constructive dialogue on race. Both hosts agreed to feature the Mutual Responsibility Theory as a topic for their morning drive shows on Tuesday, July 2.

The final installment of the series documented how the calls to the two stations went from knee-jerk opposition to the idea that all races have some responsibility for improving understanding to more thoughtful, reasoned responses and even some on-the-air soul-searching. Even the conservative radio host ended up urging listeners to reach out more so that "familiarity replaces the unfamiliarity that leads to racist feelings."


Contact:

PJ Ward
Field Producer
WFAA-TV
606 Young Street
Dallas, TX 75202
Phone: (214) 977-6542
Email: pjward@wfaa.com



Eye on Education, Boston, MA 2002

Partners:

WGBH radio and television (PBS)
The Boston Globe
El Mundo Newspaper
WRCA-AM

The "Eye on Education" initiative addressed such issues as character education, vouchers, charter schools and high-stakes testing. In addition to regular reports, the project featured a special week of TV programming, March 28-April 4, 2002, culminating with "A Day in the Life," a one-hour verite film that documented a single day at Jeremiah Burke High School from different perspectives.

By presenting personal and revealing moments, the film went beyond the headlines to depict the impact of school reform in the classroom. On Oct. 15, 2001, the day the film was shot, 63 percent of the Class of 2003 faced not graduating because they had failed the new Massachusetts MCAS exams. The statistic raised the question that ran through the production: What does it really take to leave no child behind?

The radio component, English and Spanish "Teen and Teacher Radio Diaries," aired April 1-5, 2002 on WGBH and WRCA. Early in the school year, producers selected three English-speaking students and two English-speaking teachers as well as two Spanish-speaking students and two Spanish-speaking teachers to record audio diaries of their public school experience throughout the year. The English language diaries were broadcast on WGBH and the Spanish on WRCA. The audio from all the reports was available on the Web site, www.wgbh.org/eyeoneducation, along with additional information, essays and a Pop Quiz on public education.

The partners distributed more than 100,000 parent information fliers in five languages. The Globe inserted 30,655 fliers in its March 27 edition and El Mundo printed the flier in Spanish in its pages. The partners also conducted workshops to train parents in how to use "Eye on Education" resources to conduct school-based parent discussion groups and help them take steps to improve schools.

The project brought the voices of students, parents, teachers and administrators to a broad local audience, providing detailed information to parents and generating positive feedback. WGBH planned to continue the project in the 2002-03 school year.


Contact:

Elaine Laughlin
Senior Program Manager
WGBH-TV
125 Western Avenue
Boston, MA 02134
Phone: (617) 300-3432
Email: elaine_laughlin@wgbh.org


2001


Waterfront Renaissance, Everett, WA 2001

Partners:

The Herald
KSER-FM Public Radio

The paper's "Waterfront Renaissance" project marked a new development in interactive journalism, marrying the credibility of the news organization with Web-based game technology that had previously been used mainly on advertising and entertainment sites.

When the Herald set out not simply to inform but also to engage residents in the city's effort to develop a comprehensive shoreline plan, it used many familiar civic journalism tools. A four-part series of stories, which began April 22, 2001, explained the options for the waterfront and included success stories from other cities, as well as a clip-and-send form to get citizen input into what should happen on Everett's waterfront. The paper also sought citizen input through 10 neighborhood meetings and a larger town meeting where a national waterfront-development expert spoke.

New technology allowed the paper to include a novel option on its Web site. Users could click on a map of the waterfront and, using a menu of icons on the screen, design their own waterfront development plan. They could play with the Sim City-like choices until they were satisfied with their designs and then electronically submit them. Some 420 people submitted their designs this way. Another 600 mailed in paper versions. In addition, 300 residents signed a petition demanding no development and delivered it to the Herald on the final day it was accepting the filled-in maps. The paper reported the results - the most popular option people chose for the sites was parks - and helped set up four independent watchdog groups to ensure public input would be considered in the final development. By the following year, one citizen favorite, bike paths, was starting to happen.


Contact:

Stan Strick
Executive Editor
The Herald
1213 California Street
Everett, WA 98201
Phone: (425) 339-3480
Email: strick@heraldnet.com

Mark Briggs
New Media Editor/Manager
The Herald
1213 California Street
Everett, WA 98201
Phone: (425) 339-3000
Email: briggs@heraldnet.com



Teledirecto TV, San Antonio, TX 2001

Partners:

KVDA Channel 60 (Telemundo)

San Antonio's Spanish-language television station made history in May 2001 by integrating viewers into its newscasts through Web cameras in their homes. The feature, "Teledirecto TV," was incorporated into regular newscasts at 5 p.m. and 10 p.m. to add the voice of ordinary citizens to those of experts and politicians on stories that impact the public.

The station identified "neighborhood correspondents," citizens chosen on the basis of their involvement and interest in the community, and installed Web cams - video cameras with built-in microphones - in their homes. Pew support helped pay the salary of a special coordinator who reviewed the news budget for stories affecting the "correspondents," then asked them to appear on that evening's news. The correspondents had only to click on a couple of icons to activate the Web cam and add their views to those of the officials or experts appearing in the story.

The first two neighborhood correspondents were Mary Lou Mendoza, a wife and mother involved with special education at a local elementary school, and Andrea Garza, a dental assistant active in her church and other organizations. The station planned to install Web cams and computers in 40 San Antonio homes and hoped eventually to have 100 neighborhood correspondents.


Contact:

Emilio Nicolas, Jr.
VP, General Manager
KVDA Channel 60
6234 San Pedro
San Antonio, TX 78218
Phone: (210) 340-8860
Email: exnicolas@telemundo.com



Medical Ethics: Tough Choices, Lincoln, NE 2000

Partners:

Lincoln Journal Star
Nebraska Public Television
KMTV (CBS)

The partners launched a project on the ethical questions surrounding research at the University of Nebraska Medical Center after the surprise disclosure that the facility was using fetal tissue in its labs. A statewide poll of 323 adults found most generally supported the kinds of research the center was doing, though many opposed harvesting cells from aborted fetuses. The partners hoped to spark a civil and thoughtful discussion of the ethical implications, informed by a thorough understanding of the research.

The paper ran a four-part series on Sundays in January 2001, looking at cloning stem cell research, xenotransplantation (harvesting organs for transplant from animals) and gene therapy. KMLTV aired a five-part series on the topics.

On Thursday, Feb. 1, Nebraska public television broadcast a live panel discussion of the issues by ordinary citizens. Experts sitting in the front row of the audience - which was open to anyone -I interacted with the panel for part of the show. Viewers were invited to share their opinions online, on a Web site that included the newspaper stories and lists of contacts and resources.

Some 6,000 viewers watched the show on public television and another 5,000 watched a rebroadcast on KMTV, Feb. 3. The Web site received 8,000 visits from Jan 8 to April 8. Later that year, the Nebraska legislature set aside a bill that would have banned fetal tissue research at the university. Lawmakers quoted citizens who'd participated in the project during debate on the measure. The project won First Place for Enterprise Reporting from the Nebraska Associated Press.


Contact:

David B. Stoeffler (former Editor, Lincoln Star Journal)
Vice President
Lee Enterprises
215 North Main Street
Davenport, IA 52801-1924
Phone: (563) 383-2139
Email: david.stoeffler@lee.net



Community News Digest, Portland, ME 2001

Partners:

MaineToday.com

The online service, the portal for the Portland Press Herald, the Morning Sentinel, the Kennebec Journal and WMTW Broadcasting, built and customized an innovative software system that allows community groups to generate content. MaineToday originally received funding to use existing KOZ software to improve opportunities for citizens to contribute news, responses and questions to the site. The Portland Press Herald had been using KOZ software to help community groups establish their own Web sites hosted on MaineToday and began the project seeking wider applications of KOZ's easy-to-use format. Just months into the project, however, KOZ filed for Chapter 11 bankrupcy. By that time - early 2001 - nearly 2,000 community groups were publishing on MaineToday. The staff turned its efforts to building a new software system and also figuring out the best way to use it to enhance community participation.

The result was "Bulletin Board," software that connects the community directly to the site. Through an online application, groups can register to be regular contributors. The news they send in is posted on a special section of the site's highly trafficked news pages in a box headlined, "Bulletin Board." Initially, MaineToday incorporated Bulletin Boards onto three of its pages: Sports, 20 Below (aimed at teen users) and Outdoors. Contributions from those involved in such activities as youth soccer or snow-mobiling allow the site to serve thousands of users who are intensely interested in niche activities, which the paper has neither the staff nor the space to cover adequately. The site planned eventually to expand Bulletin Board to any other news page where it makes sense to have users providing content.


Contact:

Jessica Tomlinson
Online Community Organizer
MaineToday.com
50 Monument Square
Portland, ME 04101
Phone: (207) 822-4072
Email: jessica@mainetoday.com



Lawrence is Growing, Lawrence, KS 2001

Partners:

Lawrence Journal-World
6News
J-W Web Works

With "Lawrence is Growing," the partners helped citizens of the university town, long polarized on the issue of growth, find common ground and make concrete proposals to public officials on how to manage growth.

The six-month project began April 15, 2001, with a three-week series about the history of growth in Lawrence, alternatives for future growth and how other communities had managed it. Stories appeared daily in the paper and on TV, while the Web site offered content from both as well as interactive elements including bulletin boards for comment and a clickable map showing how Lawrence had grown over the years and various scenarios for future growth.

Reporting tools for the series included small group discussions with citizens and a poll of 528 adults in the area. At the conclusion of the series, the partners hosted a 90-minute town-hall forum, broadcast live on cable channel 6, that drew more than 200 people to discuss growth issues, hopes and concerns. Dozens more called or emailed with questions for the panel of stakeholders the partners assembled. Acting on suggestions from participants, the partners held a series of six public forums over the summer, each on one of six key growth issues citizens identified: schools, traffic, transportation, open space, business and economic development and "social capital," the value of people knowing one another and working together. Each one drew 30 to 50 people.

In the fall, the partners held another town-hall forum to develop a final report on growth issues. The eight-page pull-out tabloid, "Common Ground Found," was delivered to city, county, school and university officials in Oct. 21, 2001.


Contact:

Richard Brack
Managing Editor
Lawrence Journal-World
PO Box 888
Lawrence, KS 66044-0888
Phone: (785) 832-7194
Email: rbrack@ljworld.com



Passing the Test, Monroe, LA 2001

Partners:

The News-Star, newsstar.com
Louisiana Tech University
Grambling State University
SPJ Lincoln Collegiate Chapter

The paper used civic mapping to explore why more than a quarter of Monroe's fourth- and eighth-grade public school students had failed high-stakes state math and reading tests. The project generated an outpouring of community help for local schools.

The News Star focused on five Monroe public schools for its mapping effort and partnered with the journalism schools at Louisiana Tech and Grambling to recruit the manpower needed to explore the five communities. Teams of one reporter and two students went into the community, meeting with teachers, administrators and parents and walking the streets to find "third places" outside the schools themselves.

The paper published a special section May 6, 2001, detailing the plight of high-risk students in the five schools and the challenges they face to be able to pass the state tests. A follow-up town meeting attracted 150 people to discuss solutions. Additionally, the paper established a hotline for readers who wanted to help. The response was immediate. All five schools reported receiving new levels of volunteer support.

At one school, local businesses donated $150 for a science lab as well as 350 notebooks for students. Another received dictionaries, supplies and materials from a businessman in the community. The Monroe Fire Department built a playground at another. And the community itself began organizing meetings to generate support for students.

In addition, the journalism students involved in the project got first-hand experience and training in civic journalism. The project included special training sessions for them, including an April beat-development session at Grambling that featured education professors and experts in childhood development.


Contact:

Kathy Spurlock
Executive Editor
The News-Star
411 N. Fourth St.
Monroe, LA 71210-8002
Phone: (318) 362-0261
Email: kspurlock@thenewsstar.com



The People's Agenda, Indianapolis, IN 2001

Partners:

WTHR-TV (NBC)
The Indianapolis Star
WFYI-TV

While lobbyists roam state legislatures, tracking bills and wining and dining lawmakers, ordinary citizens are left out of the process by the simple business of living their lives. "The People's Agenda" was an effort to restore balance to the process by making sure legislators knew what people wanted and giving citizens updates and score cards on how lawmakers responded.

During December 2000, WTHR and the Star offered Hoosiers the chance to cast a ballot, choosing their top 10 priorities for legislative action in 2001. Nearly 3,500 people responded: 1,343 mailed in paper ballots that had been printed in the paper and 2,088 cast on-line ballots available on both partners' Web sites. They ranked property taxes as their chief concern, followed by a surprise concern with telemarketing restrictions. Other issues included better voting machines, adoption of Daylight Saving Time, school funding, drunk driving and lifetime probation for child molesters.

The paper and WTHR ran a series of reports and editorials on the issues identified, culminating in a Jan. 22, 2001 People's Agenda Town Meeting in the House chambers of the state Capitol. Lawmakers gave up their seats and watched from the balcony as some 200 citizens spoke out on issues from the floor. On Jan. 29, the partners delivered The People's Agenda to the governor and legislators.

On Mar. 26, 2001, the Star and WTHR compiled a progress report to show the status of the People's Agenda issues. Though property taxes were not addressed, a law was passed creating a "do not call" list for telemarketers. Some 800,000 Hoosiers signed up, freeing themselves of unwanted phone calls. Six of the 10 issues on the People's Agenda were addressed by the legislature.

The partners used the format to tackle several other issues in 2001. They sent surveys to hundreds of high-achieving high school students in Central Indiana, asking for their suggestions on improving education for a project called "Ameritchieve." Seventy-nine percent of the respondents identified teacher quality as the key to a good education. Respondents were invited to a public forum on April 22, 2001,to discuss how to attract and retain quality teachers and some 200 attended. A public forum on race followed on June 26, 2001, attracting more than 200 participants. A town hall meeting, Oct. 15, 2001, on national security attracted nearly 400 people. WFYI joined the partnership and aired a one-hour special on the forum on Oct. 21.

The biggest criticism the project received was that its research on the People's Agenda had been unscientific - depending on those who took the time to cast a ballot. So, with the remaining funds from the Pew Center, the partners extended their collaboration into 2002 with a scientific survey, conducted by randomly generated phone calls to all but three Indiana counties, on The People's Agenda for 2002. Again taxes were high on the agenda with education a close second. WFYI broadcast a second town hall meeting from the Capitol and the partners continued to track the legislature's action throughout its 2002 session.


Contact:

Young-Hee Yedinak
13 Listens Coordinator
WTHR-TV
1000 N. Meridian Street
Indianapolis, IN 46204
Phone: (317) 655-5619
Email: yyedinak@wthr.com

Jon Schwantes
Assoc. Editor/Director, New Partnerships
Indianapolis Star
PO Box 146
Indianapolis, IN 46206
Phone: (317) 444-4000
Email: jonschwantes@starnews.com

Paul Stauber
Producer
WTHR-TV
1000 N. Meridian Street
Indianapolis, IN 46204
Phone: (317) 655-5775
Email: 13listens@wthr.com



Growth on the Strand, Myrtle Beach, SC 2001

Partners:

The Sun News
Myrtlebeachonline.com
Coastal Carolina University

With Myrtle Beach becoming the fastest-growing relocation destination in the nation, the paper gave residents a chance to try their hand at managing growth in the region with an interactive Web-based game, similar to the model pioneered by The Herald in Everett.

"Chart the Strand's Future," a feature introduced on the paper's Web site in April 2002, allowed users to drop icons onto a map in order to design a growth plan, as in the popular game "Sim City." The paper did not, however, collect and analyze the designs, as the The Herald in Everett, WA, did. Rather, the game was an end in itself, designed to give users a taste of the trade-offs and challenges city planners face when managing growth. The game included a meter by which users could see how each choice for development affected both the community's financial health and quality of life. The paper received informal, positive feedback but could not keep track of how many people participated.

The game was one feature of the project "Growth on the Strand," launched March 11, 2001, with a package of stories on key concerns in the growth debate. Additional stories ran through the rest of the year on issues including solid waste disposal, recycling, traffic congestion, housing trends and the environmental impact of sprawl. In April 2002, the paper co-sponsored a growth summit at Coastal Carolina that attracted 150 people, who played the Growth Game, which was launched at the conference. Participants broke into groups to discuss transportation, the environment, leadership, jobs, housing and education. Some volunteered to work on a particular area and organized follow-up meetings. Coastal Carolina took the names of volunteers for an ad hoc growth committee to address the issues raised at the summit.


Contact:

Patricia H. (Trish) O'Connor
Editor
The Sun News
914 Frontage Road East
Myrtle Beach, SC 29578
Phone: (843) 626-0316
Email: toconnor@thesunnews.com



SchoolNet, Philadelphia, PA 2001

Partners:

Philadelphia Daily News, philly.com

At the height of a crisis in Philadelphia public schools, the paper launched a rich, online source of information to encourage parent involvement and public problem-solving. SchoolNet included a wide range of features. There was contact information for district offices to help parents navigate a sometimes-convoluted bureaucracy. There was a grade-by-grade breakdown of what children should be mastering in school each year and several online forums so parents could connect with each other. To ensure that any parent would have access to the site, the Daily News put detailed brochures in the free Internet access section of 55 city libraries.

Reporter Becky Batcha spent three months researching the content for what the paper dubbed a "virtual home and school association." She discovered an out-of-print school district publication detailing the curriculum for each grade and the paper purchased the database so parents could access it.

The paper also sought public input in designing the site. After launching its school reform project with a special eight-page, pull-out section, it printed a clip-and-send coupon, soliciting reader ideas for which issues should be the focus of online forums. The paper also invited concerned citizens to sign up for three public forums at the paper. The paper learned that parents of special education students had a particular need for more and better information, and it created a channel on SchoolNet page just for those parents. There was also a teacher exchange and more general channels on reform, parent involvement and "great ideas."

The launch, unfortunately, coincided with the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the Pentagon and World Trade Center, forcing the paper to scuttle plans for a series of public forums to call attention to the site. The paper did hold two public forums, attracting about 60 people, on charter schools and on homework. Technical difficulties prevented the paper from determining how many users the site attracted, and the site was dismantled in early 2002, when parent company Knight-Ridder changed the platform the paper's Web site had been using.


Contact:

Deborah Licklider
New Initiatives Editor
The Philadelphia Daily News
400 N. Broad St.
Philadelphia, PA 19130
Phone: (215) 854-5879
Email: licklid@phillynews.com



Teaching Tucson's Children , Tucson, AZ 2001

Partners:

The Arizona Daily Star
Tucson Citizen
KVOA-TV (NBC)
KOLD-TV (CBS)
KGUN-TV (ABC)
KUAT-TV (PBS)
KWBA-TV (WB)
KMSB-TV (Fox)
KTTU-TV (UPN)
KHRR-TV (Telemundo)
KUVE-TV (Univision)

This unusually comprehensive partnership - involving all of Tucson's major media - joined forces for "Teaching Tucson's Children," a project on improving local public schools that culminated in a town hall meeting, Aug. 24, 2001, that drew 300 people in person and thousands more to their TV screens during the six rebroadcasts of the session.

About 100 citizens participated through the summer in 10 "scoping sessions," held in libraries, auditoriums and classrooms throughout the community, to frame the issues for the August meeting. The partners also sought input from three online surveys - one for parents, one for students and one for teachers - that asked respondents to rate the importance of 14 educational issues on a scale of one to five.

The week before the town hall, each partner did a week of stories or programs. Though each reported and produced their stories independently, all used the "Teaching Tucson's Children" logo. The Daily Star and KVOA provided online and in print a pledge form for readers and viewers to send in, agreeing to get involved in improving Tucson schools. About 80 people responded. The PTA in the nearby town of Congress, AZ, picked up on the idea and asked community members there to sign a similar pledge. The Daily Star and KVOA continued to work together after the initial project. At the request of the Tucson school district, the two helped sponsor another town hall meeting for over 100 people, in March 2002, on volunteering.


Contact:

Dennis Joyce
Asst Managing Editor
Arizona Daily Star
PO Box 26807
Tucson, AZ 85726-6807
Phone: (520) 573-4224
Email: djoyce@azstarnet.com



Civic Radio Station, Austin, TX 2001

Partners:

KUT-FM (Public Broadcasting)
University of Texas
The Austin American Statesman

When KUT decided to develop a local news program, its director saw an opportunity to create a "civic" newsroom, building his operation from the ground up with the principless of civic journalism in mind. Pew funding allowed the station to research the community-its make-up and its needs - with tools such as focus groups, polls and mapping, to launch a local news presence that engages citizens in public life. The Austin American Statesman joined the research effort to aid its own reporting on community issues.

Between March and May 2001, the University of Texas Office of Survey Research interviewed 600 people in the Austin area and found broad support for civic journalism values as well as recommendations for the most pertinent areas to cover. While the survey found Austin's traffic a major concern, respondents didn't want more traffic coverage. Nor were they interested in more weather coverage. They were most interested in more coverage of education, science, government and the arts.

The partners conducted two focus groups to gather more specific information. One was composed of Latinos, the other a more diverse groups representing the balance of Austin citizens. Both groups expressed cynicism about the media and placed a high value on the media motivating people to action.

In June, the station held a two-day conference to write the standards and practices of the new news department. The hiring of the staff was a rather lengthy process but in February 2002, local coverage began. In March, the station aired profiles of candidates in the primary election, as well as a series of commentaries on issues in the primaries. The station's long-term plan was to partner with public television to produce a series of reports and town meetings on the difficult economic times.


Contact:

Stewart Vanderwilt
Director and GM
KUT-FM (NPR), University of Texas
Communication Building B
Austin, TX 78712-1090
Phone: (512) 471-1631
Email: vanderwilt@mail.utexas.edu

Don Heider
Asst. Professor, School of Journalism
University of Texas-Austin
Austin, TX 78712
Phone: (512) 471-1965
Email: donheider@mail.utexas.edu



Living with Cancer, Elmira, NY 2000

Partners:

Star-Gazette
WETM-TV (NBC)
WSKG-FM, WSKG-TV

A year-long project looked at the impact of the region's higher-than-average cancer rate and the steps citizens can take to prevent the disease. Monthly installments in the paper, each focusing on a different aspect of the disease, were complemented by radio and television news segments and special TV programs as well as interactive online quizzes and links to other helpful sites.

Reporting was informed both by a poll of 405 Chemung County residents that showed 60 percent had cancer in their family and by an advisory group of 12 "core sources," including two cancer patients, an oncologist, a nurse, a social worker, a state legislator and others. They suggested and helped frame stories for the series.

The first package of stories ran in January 2001 with an overview of the problem in the Elmira area and profiles of people affected by cancer. A public television special that month featured health care and cancer officials talking to the paper's project editor and program host Bill Jaker.

Several non-profit groups sought to get involved in the project. The Breast Cancer Network offered to solicit sources so the paper developed a form that the Network distributed to patients. Reporters interviewed several women who returned the form.

The paper also designed a questionnaire that was distributed to 500 cancer patients through the American Cancer Society and the Falck Cancer Center. Some 30 patients returned the form and, in March, the paper ran a full page of the comments and advice obtained through the questionnaire.

In April, when the series turned its focus to prevention, WSKG ran its second special report which featured Jaker getting a colonoscopy, a procedure for early detection of colon cancer. In September, the Web page supporting the project posted a quiz testing users knowledge of cancer. Another quiz, in November, helped users determine their risk level for lung cancer. The site also linked to Harvard University's cancer risk calculator and an "ask the expert" site where users could email lung cancer questions to an oncology nurse. The site received 44,000 hits through the course of the year, with the number of users increasing each month of the project.

The final installment ran in the Star-Gazette Dec. 16 and WETM broadcast a two-part special, Dec. 16 and 23, wrapping up the project. Reprints were distributed to area medical offices and health classes.


Contact:

Jane E. Sutter (former Executive Editor, Star-Gazette)
Managing Editor
Democrat and Chronicle
55 Exchange Blvd.
Rochester, NY 14614
Phone: (585) 258-2301
Email: jsutter@democratandchronicle.com



Bridges to the New California and The World According to Young People, San Francisco, CA 2001

Partners:

Pacific News Service
New California Media/a>
KALW-FM
San Francisco Chronicle

The partnership gave wider circulation, through the Chronicle's Sunday edition and through KALW programs, to the diverse ethnic and youth voices gathered by two of the Pacific News Service's major projects: New California Media and YO! Youth Outlook.

The New California Media (NCM) project distilled the major stories in dozens of ethnic newspapers in the Bay Area, papers such as the Sing Tao Daily, Iran Today, India West, and Philippine News. Beginning in April 2001, the Chronicle ran articles from NCM under a sig called "Bridges to the New California."

At the same time, the paper's weekly opinion section, Insight, began running pieces by teenage correspondents from YO! Youth Outlook. The paper debuted the feature April 31, 2001, with four essays on "Rage in the Suburbs." The essays grew out of a Youth Forum the Pacific News Service sponsored earlier in April, entitled "Rage in the Suburbs: Why is it primarily white, male and aimed at schools?" The forum drew more than 125 high school students, teachers and youth advocates. Seventeen teenagers spoke on subjects ranging from "cliques in my school" to "what's exhilarating in a mall culture." The Insight editor attended the forum and commissioned essays from four of the speakers.

The forum also kicked off a series of 15-minute radio segments produced by YO! reporters for KALW, the public radio station owned by the San Francisco school district. Each week, the pieces aired as part of an hour-long show called "Up Front: Connecting Neighborhoods through the New California Media."


Contact:

Sandy Close
Executive Editor
Pacific News Service
660 Market St, Suite 210
San Francisco, CA 94104
Phone: (415) 438-4755
Email: sclose@pacificnews.org



After the Boom, San Francisco, CA 2001

Partners:

KTVU-TV (Fox), KTVU.com
SFGate.com, San Francisco Chronicle

The partners received funding for a project about the hidden costs of the affluence that accompanied the Bay Area's high-tech boom only to have the boom implode before the project ever got started. The result was a series charting and explaining the region's master narrative as it was happening.

"After the Boom" explored in print and on air such phenomena as "millionaires for a minute," about Bay Area residents whose fortunes rose and fell with alarming speed and "gloaters" who reveled in the comeuppance of the young people who floated on the dot-com bubble. Other topics included the impact of the bust on charitable giving and the transformation in the values and expectations of business school graduates.

Stories began April 29, 2001 in the Chronicle, on KTVU and on both their Web sites. Monthly installments ran through the summer, when the project was interrupted by the sale of the Chronicle. Plans were underway to complete the project in the spring of 2003 with a public forum on the economy.


Contact:

Roland De Wolk
Producer
KTVU-TV (Fox)
2 Jack London Square
Oakland, CA 94605
Phone: (510) 874-0516
Email: roland@sfsu.edu



Civic Leadership Project, Bangor, ME 2001

Partners:

Bangor Daily News
The Margaret Chase Smith Center for Public Policy
University of Maine

A six-part series on leadership identified the most active behind-the-scenes community leaders in the Bangor area, what traits they held in common and the importance of their work to the life of the community. The paper began the project by compiling a database of 1,600 community leaders. The list included the directors, trustees and top officers of the 100 largest non-profit organizations and the 50 largest locally owned companies in Bangor and 20 nearby communities, as well as the local managers of the 30 largest national and regional chains with a local presence. They also included town council members, school board members, school superintendents and town managers in the area.

The paper ranked the most active leaders by how many times their names appeared on the list. Reporters interviewed the 20 most active men and women about the challenges the area faced, potential solutions and the role of civic leaders in the process. The series included profiles of five of the leaders.

In addition to the stories about leaders, editors said the database was useful in reporting other major stories, notably coverage of the 2000 census, by providing a ready list of sources for interviews. The project also built the paper's capacity for computer-assisted reporting. This paid off in a number of ways, including an investigative report on Maine restaurants using state health inspection records.


Contact:

A. Mark Woodward
Executive Editor
Bangor Daily News
491 Main St.
Bangor, ME 04401
Phone: (207) 990-8239
Email: mwoodward@bangordailynews.net



EcoWatch, Miami, FL 2001

Partners:

WTVJ-TV (NBC)
The Miami Herald
Ocean Drive Magazine

The WTVJ news department made coverage of the environment a top priority, launching EcoWatch on Earth Day in March 2001. Pew funding allowed the station to partner with The Miami Herald and its Sunday magazine to reach out and engage the community in its effort.

In addition to producing more than 100 broadcast stories on the environment, the station solicited viewer "Ecopinions" through a special EcoWatch Web page. Viewer and user emails on controversial topics were collected, consolidated and then forwarded to public officials and stakeholders on the issue. Viewers weighed in on such issues as a bottle bill for Florida and preservation of the Everglades -two hot environmental issues in 2002. The station forwarded hundreds of emails on those and other topics. The Web site also featured an interactive slide show, video of station reports, special dispatches from marine biologist Jean-Michel Cousteau and University of Miami environmentalist Ellen Prager, along with links and other resources.

Working with nearly a dozen organizations, such as Friends of the Everglades, the University of Miami and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the station generated a lesson plan on the environment that was distributed to thousands of Miami school children. The station promoted use of the curriculum by sending station anchors into classrooms to show EcoWatch reports and lead discussions.

To encourage environmental awareness among Miami citizens, the partners produced and distributed half a million copies of an EcoGuide filled with information and advice. For example, a section on helping preserve the Everglades suggested citizens could help by conserving water and explained how to find leaks in home plumbing that would waste water. In addition to the printed copies, the guide remained available online.


Contact:

Tim Geraghty
Vice President, News
WTVJ-TV
15000 S.W. 27th St.
Miramar, FL 33027
Phone: (954) 622-6150
Email: tim.geraghty@nbc.com


Needham, MA 2001

Partners:

Community Newspaper Co.

Funds were returned when the company was acquired by Herald Media and the editors who proposed the project departed.


2000


2001: A Learning Odyssey, Savannah, GA 2001

Partners:

Savannah Morning News
WSOK-AM

The paper brought together 60 citizens in August 2000 as the first step in its project on Savannah's failing public schools. The 39,000-student district was among the worst in the nation. It had gone through three superintendents in five years, the school board was fighting with the governor over school reform, and six schools were about to be taken over by the state. Yet, the meeting was the first effort to involve citizens in developing strategies for school improvement.

Over the next year, the group would more than double in size and its ideas and actions - boiled down to four basic principals to guide school reform - became the basis for Vision 2010, a project exploring what was needed to make Savannah-Chatham County schools the best in the country within the decade.

Some 35 stories, more than half written by citizens, appeared in a special section in August 2001. The project has now grown beyond a newspaper series. A dozen volunteers are working to help the county's lowest-performing middle school turn around. Other volunteers are working to bring new programs such as a high tech high school to the district. Most significantly, 30 educators, non-profit leaders and business people have formed the Chatham Excellence in Education Foundation to raise the money needed to carry on the work of Vision 2010.

The project won the 2002 Batten Award. The newspaper's owner contributed $10,000 - an amount equal to the prize money - to the Excellence in Education Foundation, to help it meet its $3 million goal.


Contact:

Dan Suwyn
Managing Editor
Savannah Morning News
PO Box 1088, 11 W. Bay St.
Savannah, GA 31402-1088
Phone: (912) 652-0322
Email: dsuwyn@savannahnow.com

Rexanna Lester
Executive Editor
Savannah Morning News
PO Box 1088, 11 W. Bay St.
Savannah, GA 31402-1088
Phone: (912) 652-0300
Email: rexanna@savannahnow.com



West Virginia After Coal, Huntington, WV 2000

Partners:

The (Huntington) Herald-Dispatch
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The partners made economic revitalization the dominant issue in West Virginia legislative and political debate with "West Virginia After Coal," a far-reaching exploration of the state's prospects if it continues to rely solely on coal for its economic well-being.

The project provided a number of features to educate citizens and generate discussion including a newspaper series, a live town hall meeting and a dedicated website.

The Herald-Dispatch kicked off a six-part series, Sept. 17, 2000, with a ground-breaking investigation of how local governments were using coal severance taxes. The paper found virtually none of the money being used for economic development. Instead, it was being used to underwrite normal budgetary items such as postage and animal shelters.

The series also included results of a Pew-funded poll of 400 West Virginia residents, showing a large majority thought the state should reduce its reliance on coal.

The paper made the series available to any paper in the state and all or part of it ran in six of the state's papers.

Public television and radio simulcast a live three-hour town hall meeting with more than 200 citizens participating at 10 different sites around the state. The partners' Web site allowed users to chat live during the meeting. The site also features a searchable database of severance tax spending and it allows users to take the poll and see where they stand in relation to other West Virginia residents.

The project won the James Batten Award in 2001.


Contact:

Len LaCara
Former Managing Editor
Herald-Dispatch
Huntington, WV
Phone: (304) 526-2779
Email: llacara@aol.com

Beth Gorczyca
Reporter
Herald-Dispatch
946 5th Ave.
Huntington, WV 25701
Phone: (304) 526-2772
Email: bethg@herald-dispatch.com



Rural Idaho: Challenged to Change, Idaho 2001

Partners:

The Idaho Statesman
Idaho Spokesman-Review
Lewiston Morning Tribune
(Idaho Falls) Post Register
KTVB-TV (NBC in Boise)
Idaho Public Television

The news organizations gave a statewide scope to the problems of rural Idaho with their collaboration on "Rural Idaho: Challenged to Change," a five-part series that ran simultaneously in all four papers, and as a three-part series on KTVB in October of 2001. The series' revelations led to a November conference, attended by several hundred citizens, co-sponsored by the Statesman and two non-profit public policy organizations that, in turn, generated a white paper to the state legislature on measures needed to shore up rural Idaho.

The partners conducted a statewide poll of 813 residents and held five roundtable meetings across the state to get the views of Idaho citizens on the challenges facing rural areas. The Statesman also solicited reader ideas through an online poll. Several hundred people completed the poll. The Statesman estimates it received input from 1,400 Idahoans over the course of the project. The paper sold 3,000 extra copies the week the series ran and its Rural Idaho Web page received 80,000 hits in the first three months.

The partners also created and analyzed several databases for the series. One, on education, revealed the low achievement of rural schools. Only 8 percent of the school districts in rural counties met the national average on standardized tests. That was news even to state education officials.

The tenuous state of rural Idaho was brought home through the stories of five families, each from different areas of the state and representing different segments of the rural economy. The package drew praise from the Northwest Area Foundation, which is dedicated to helping rural areas. Its president Karl Stauber said, "The way you've pulled together this media package is the best example of engaging the entire citizenry of the state in becoming more knowledgeable and more involved in finding solutions for Idaho."


Contact:

Carolyn K. Washburn
Executive Editor
The Idaho Statesman
P.O. Box 40
Boise, ID 83707
Phone: (208) 377-6403
Email: cwashbur@boise.gannett.com

Steve Silberman (former Statesman Managing Editor)
Executive Editor
The Desert Sun
750M. Gene Autry Trail
Palm Springs, CA 92262
Phone: (760) 778-4616
Email: silberman@thedesertsun.com



Computerized Polling Kiosks, Missoula, MT 2001

Partners:

Missoulian

Using modest Pew funding, Missoulian reporter Rob Chaney refitted three government surplus computers to become portable polling kiosks, suitable for gathering instant reaction to news events or for determining which issues voters are most interested in.

Software installed in the computers allowed Chaney to program in survey questions on any topic and choose the type of answer he wanted - multiple choice, true-false, short answer - even essay questions. The computers were placed in simple wooden cabinets so they could be taken anywhere - senior citizen centers, high school cafeterias, even street corners if a power supply was available.

Originally conceived as an election coverage tool, the computers turned out to have a number of uses. When firefighters from all over the West raced to stop forest fires raging in Montana, Chaney took a kiosk to the Ninemile Fire Camp and collected comments from 50 people about the rigors of battling the blazes. After a Hell's Angels gathering near Missoula resulted in a near riot, Chaney conducted a flash survey near the scene of the clash and turned up several eyewitnesses among respondents, who left their names and phone numbers for more extensive follow up interviews.

Chaney used the results of the kiosk surveys in several different ways. Voter responses on issues surveys helped guide his election coverage. Sometimes specific comments from the kiosks were used in stories. Occasionally, Chaney devoted an entire story to the responses the kiosks generated, such as the one featuring the sometimes humorous and sometimes touching observations of the firefighters trying to save Montana forest.


Contact:

Robert Chaney
Local Government Reporter
The Missoulian Newspaper
500 S. Higgins
Missoula, MT 59801
Phone: (406) 523-5382
Email: rchaney@missoulian.com



Stray Voltage, LaCrosse, WI 2001

Partners:

La Crosse Tribune

This project examined the hazards of stray voltage - electrical current that leaks from power lines - for farms and livestock through a series of newspaper stories and a dedicated Web site that drew comments and questions from around the world.

The stories, looking at causes, effects and possible solutions of stray voltage, were denounced by utility companies, who tried to pressure the Tribune by going directly to the editorial board to complain and even questioning the Pew Center about its support of the project. But the project was embraced by farmers and some public officials. The Michigan Attorney General included several of the stories as evidence in legal action against the state's second largest utility. The Wisconsin Rural Energy Management Council invited reporter Chris Hardie to display his story and answer questions on the subject as part of its research for the state legislature.

The project won five Wisconsin journalism awards and the Web site www.strayvoltage.org generated daily traffic for years.


Contact:

Chris Hardie
Local News Editor
La Crosse Tribune
401 North 3rd St.
La Crosse, WI 54601
Phone: (608) 791-8218
Email: chardie@lacrossetribune.com



Civic Ways to Use Wire Stories, Richmond, IN 2000

Partners:

(Richmond) Palladium-Item
Dayton Daily News
Earlham College

The partners developed strategies to make wire stories - the main source of national and international news for most small papers - more engaging and relevant to readers. Earlham professor Cheryl Gibbs and her students created special pages of international news for the Palladium-Item, using wire stories and other readily available sources. Unlike traditional wire-dependent foreign news pages, the Palladium-Item's "Big Picture" page included reading lists, local organizations linked to the story and ways to get personally involved through donations or other outreach efforts.

The pages were critiqued by focus groups of readers and later pages were further refined. Gibbs and her students found readers became more engaged if they felt a personal connection to a story and suggested that papers could help readers make that connection using a few simple steps. They include translating statistics and demographic information into more local and familiar terms, telling readers how they can help or communicate their views to decision-makers and suggesting reading lists that include literary and cultural content as well as politics and history.


Contact:

Cheryl Gibbs
Assistant Professor
Earlham College
Drawer 62, 801 National Road West
Richmond, IN 47374-4095
Phone: (765) 983-1506
Email: chergibbs@aol.com



Geneforum.org, Portland, OR 2000

Partners:

Oregon Public Broadcasting
Albany Democrat-Herald
The (La Grande) Observer
Newport News-Times
Geneforum.org

Because Oregon is the only state in the nation that treats an individual's DNA as private property, its genetic privacy law is frequently under discussion and review. The project increased public knowledge of this unique law and created opportunities for public input into the ongoing discussions using a variety of tools:

  • Three produced stories and five call-in shows on Oregon Public Radio.
  • Seven focus groups around the state of 12-15 people each.
  • A Nov. 14, 2000 town hall meeting in Portland that attracted 25 people including three state legislators.
  • The creation of geneforum.org, an interactive Web site dedicated to the topic.

The Web site experienced approximately 10,000 user sessions during 2000. Some 300 of the visitors completed quizzes on their attitudes toward genetically engineered food and the use of their own tissue for genetic research.

The results, along with other citizen input, were forwarded to the Genetic Research Advisory Committee, appointed by the Oregon Legislature to make recommendations on the state's genetic privacy law. In its final report, the committee cited the input as beneficial to its work and recommended, among its findings, that "continuing efforts be made to gather public input on genetic privacy issues, to inform and educate the public about genetic research and to promote public dialogue on these issues."

The partners used the Pew funding to leverage additional funding from two Portland based foundations for support of the Web site and the focus group research.


Contact:

Morgan Holm
Director of News & Public Affairs
Oregon Public Broadcasting
7140 S.W. Macadam Ave.
Portland, OR 97219-3013
Phone: (503) 293-1905
Email: morgan_holm@opb.org



Invisible Boundaries: Communities of Choice, Fort Lauderdale, FL 2000

Partners:

South Florida Sun-Sentinel
CBS 4 and Newsradio 610

The partners documented the way massive social changes have swept aside the traditional definition of "community" and replaced it with a patchwork of affiliations, raising serious issues for civic institutions.

Though focused on the suburbs of South Florida, "Invisible Boundaries: Communities of Choice" was a story of our times - very much an exploration of the forest, not the trees.

Using information gathered from two focus groups and a survey of 1,000 residents of Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach Counties, the partners showed how factors such as sprawl, technology, immigration and employment options affect how people define and commit themselves to communities.

The research found, for example, that the workplace is more likely than the neighborhood to be the place where people spend most of their time, form their closest bonds, invest energy, volunteer and make charitable donations.

Technological advances allow new immigrants to stay closely connected-through e-mail, cell phones and ease of travel - to their native countries, making them less likely to become civically engaged in their new homeland.

The four-part series ran in the paper and on radio and television over a series of several months, from Aug. 13, 2000 to Feb. 2001. Also in February, the paper distributed a multicultural directory, listing agencies and organizations serving the needs of an ever-more diverse community. Reporters and editors conducted a workshop on the series at a convention of neighborhood activists from around Florida.


Contact:

David Blackwell
Deputy Managing Editor
Sun-Sentinel
200 East Las Olas Blvd.
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301
Phone: (954) 356-4606
Email: dblackwell@sun-sentinel.com



Shock Value, Concord, NH 2000

Partners:

New Hampshire Public Radio

NHPR used the interactive Web technology it pioneered with its Tax Calculator to give the state's citizens an idea of how electricity deregulation would affect their utility bills. The special "Shock Value" Web site, linking off the NHPR home page, served as both a primer on deregulation and a tool for figuring out how to save money after the state legislature deregulated electricity in May 2000. Users were invited to leave their email addresses so NHPR could notify them of new developments affecting their utility bills. The site also featured a bulletin-board discussion area where ratepayers could post messages that were automatically forwarded to an email box set up for state legislators on the deregulation committee.

More than 3,000 visitors came to the site, some driven by promos broadcast on NHPR stations, thus proving that radio can create a feedback loop with the Web. The experience helped institutionalize radio-Web integration at NHPR, and NHPR believes it helped forge a new relationship with listeners/users as a reliable source for palatable information on complex topics.


Contact:

Jon Greenberg
Senior News Editor
New Hampshire Public Radio
207 North Main Street
Concord, NH 03301-5003
Phone: (603) 223-2435
Email: jgreenberg@nhpr.org



Cyber Mapping, Anniston, AL 2000

Partners:

The Anniston Star

The paper sought to become more interactive by creating new opportunities for reader exchanges through its online service, and it made some strides in that direction, but technical difficulties kept reporters from taking full advantage of the project's potential.

The paper gathered about 800 e-mail addresses for a "cyber-map" to complement its civic map of community sources. However, the database has not been used as a reporting tool. Online editor Geni Certain explained the information was centralized on one newsroom computer so reporters did not have easy access to it and never got into the habit of using it.

The paper has continued to work on creating the online discussion groups and forums it hoped for. Working with the three other newspapers owned by its parent company, Consolidated Publishing, it has mounted an online message board for discussions about news events. Certain said regular users of the board reflect a "great sense of community on that board," referring to themselves as "we" when discussing the views expressed on the board.


Contact:

Chris Waddle
Executive Editor
The Anniston Star
P.O. Box 189
Anniston, AL 36202-0189
Phone: (256) 235-9208
Email: cwaddle@annistonstar.com



Race in the Yakima Valley, Yakima, WA 2000

Partners:

Yakima Herald-Republic

Immigration has boosted the Hispanic presence in Yakima to 37 percent of the total population. The paper explored the resulting tensions and benefits in a seven-day series, "Race in the Yakima Valley," Dec. 10-16, 2000. Reporters and editors worked with an ethnically diverse advisory committee to develop questions for a survey of 400 Hispanic and 400 non-Hispanic Yakima area residents. The paper also convened two focus groups.

The focus groups proved to be so rich in insight that the paper created what it called "Listening Post" assignments, requiring reporters to seek out sources never interviewed by the paper before in public places where people congregate. Reporters estimate they spoke to more than 300 people for the project.

Some 80 people phoned or emailed the paper with mostly favorable comments. Yakima's PBS station aired an hour-long discussion of the Herald-Republic's stories and the issues involved on day six of the series. The series also inspired the dean of education at nearby Heritage College to look into organizing a round-table group to keep the discussion of race alive.


Contact:

Bob Crider
Managing Editor
Yakima Herald-Republic
114 N. 4th Street
Yakima, WA 98901
Phone: (509) 577-7672
Email: bcrider@yakima-herald.com



Focus on the Ethnic Voter and Bay Area Bridges, San Francisco, CA 2000

Partners:

Pacific News Service/New California Media

Pacific News Service seized the 2000 presidential and local California elections to demonstrate the growing political clout of ethnic voters and, in the process, created new outlets for diverse voices in the mainstream media.

Pooling the resources of 100 ethnic newspapers and broadcast stations in the Bay Area, Pacific News Service started New California Media in 1996 to circulate stories among its members. Pew funding allowed the nascent service to step up activities during the election and focus on the impact of ethnic voters.

Newsmaker breakfasts, for instance, gave ethnic media reporters opportunities to meet with candidates and issues experts. A special area of NCMonline.org was dedicated to "Focus on the Ethnic Voter." NCM-TV produced a series of half-hour shows on ethnic voters, which aired on the Bay Area PBS and Asian-language stations and statewide on CSPAN.

The coverage got the attention of mainstream media and ultimately led the San Francisco Chronicle to create a Sunday section, "Bay Area Bridges," summarizing and translating stories from the area's ethnic newspapers, such as India-West, Pakistan Today, Beirut Daily Star and Nichi Bei Times. In addition, KALW-FM gave NCM a Friday slot for a weekly show, "UpFront," featuring ethnic media reporters, editors and producers.


Contact:

Sandy Close
Executive Editor
Pacific News Service
660 Market St, Suite 210
San Francisco, CA 94104
Phone: (415) 438-4755
Email: sclose@pacificnews.org



Redefining Disenfranchised Communities, Philadelphia, PA 2001

Partners:

WHYY-TV 12 (PBS)
WHYY-FM

The station held two focus groups, one with labor union members and one with victims of catastrophic illness, in an effort to redefine the concept of community - away from geography and demography, toward areas of shared concerns. Participants included men and women from different neighborhoods as well as different racial and ethnic groups.

The station found that, indeed, despite their varied backgrounds, participants shared common needs and concerns that were not always served by the media. The focus groups generated a number of story ideas and frames for covering these communities in a more meaningful way. The information was not used to produce news stories, as had been hoped, however, because the station found funding was insufficient to cover production costs.


Contact:

Paul A. Gluck
VP & Station Manager
WHYY-TV
150 N. 6th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106
Phone: (215) 351-2003
Email: pgluck@whyy.org



WebTV Election Project, Madison, WI 2000

Partners:

Wisconsin Public Television

The project experimented with ways to use Interactive Television (ITV) to enhance election coverage. ITV combines television viewing and Internet browsing on a standard TV screen through the use of a set-top WebTV unit and remote. Though the technology was still very new and not widely used, Wisconsin Public Television (WPT) believed it was a growing trend that would soon be an industry standard.

Using the technology in the 2000 election helped the network develop several successful strategies for adding content to its coverage without unduly distracting from the television broadcast. A toolbar superimposed on broadcasts allowed WebTV viewers, using their remotes, to link to candidate bios, descriptions of various election races and issues being discussed. They could even email the show's producers directly, take a poll or view poll results. WPT used focus group sessions after broadcasts to get user input into how to make the interactive tools better and easier to use.

By the night of the general election in November, WPT was able to coordinate its own ITV links with the nationally broadcast NewsHour's ITV links, to give Wisconsin WebTV users access to continuously updated national results from the NewsHour and continuously updated statewide results from WPT. This type of local/national interactive TV partnership was unprecedented.


Contact:

Kathy Bissen
Exec. Prod, News & Public Affairs
Wisconsin Public Television
821 University Ave.
Madison, WI 53706
Phone: (608) 263-8496
Email: bissen@wpt.org



Electric Utility Deregulation, Las Vegas, NV 2000

Partners:

KLVX-TV (PBS-Las Vegas)
KNBP-TV (PBS-Reno)

The stations joined to broadcast their first live, interactive, statewide town hall meeting in February 2000 on the issue of electric utility deregulation. With deregulation scheduled to take place in March, the stations wanted to help consumers get answers to questions about this complex public policy issue. Viewers emailed, faxed and phoned in questions to three-member panels in Las Vegas and in Reno. In addition, a studio audience in Las Vegas questioned the panels, which included the head of the state's largest utility and the chair of the Public Utilities Commission.

Though ratings were typical for the time slot - a one rating and a one share - the stations were pleased with the outcome. There was a steady stream of phone callers throughout the broadcast and there were numerous requests for tapes of the show.


Contact:

Mitch Fox
News & Public Affairs Manager
KLVX-TV
4210 Channel 10 Drive
Las Vegas, NV 89119
Phone: (702) 799-1010
Email: mfox@klvx.org


1999


New Hampshire Tax Challenge, Concord, NH 1999

Partners:

New Hampshire Public Radio

An estimated 30,000 residents, or more than 4% of the state's registered voters, used their computers to access the radio station's online calculator to see how proposed new tax bills would affect them.

In addition, NHPR used the site as a reporting tool, monitoring a Feedback Zone and interviewing some of the respondents for radio stories about the personal impact of various tax proposals.

The nine-month project not only gave citizens the facts and figures they needed to participate in a public-policy debate, but brought a large online audience to the network's Web site during daytime hours when its radio listener numbers are down.


Contact:

Jon Greenberg
Senior News Editor
New Hampshire Public Radio
207 North Main Street
Concord, NH 03301-5003
Phone: (603) 223-2435
Email: jgreenberg@nhpr.org



Aging Matters, Savannah, GA 1999

Partners:

The Savannah Morning News

The paper published an 11-part series on the issues faced by the region's growing elderly population, beginning in September of 1999 and continuing through the summer of 2000. The coverage became a prime example of unraveling a community's "master narrative."

A Pew-supported survey of 740 Savannah-area residents helped frame the topics for "Aging Matters," along with a series of small focus groups, each with about eight participants. The series explored how and why people age, health and long-term care, legal issues that arise as people age, the political impact of a growing senior population and the financial impact of aging.

Each installment included stories about people who've remained active and involved as they aged and found positive aspects to the process. The series also included resource guides on each issue explored and invited community participation in the conversation. Online message boards and chat rooms, special call-in lines and continued focus groups gave readers outlets to discuss problems and offer solutions.

The series inspired Savannah-area legislators and community groups to take action. After an installment on seniors who are primary caregivers to grandchildren, Savannah's congressmen and state senator inaugurated a series of Saturday morning discussion groups to determine what services government could provide. Stories on nursing home care prompted the city's state representative to introduce legislation requiring higher ratios of nursing home staff per patient. And senior citizens centers, advocacy groups and hospices reported an increase in volunteer help.

The series won the Batten Award in 2000.


Contact:

Dan Suwyn
Managing Editor
Savannah Morning News
PO Box 1088, 11 W. Bay St.
Savannah, GA 31402-1088
Phone: (912) 652-0322
Email: dsuwyn@savannahnow.com

Rexanna Lester
Executive Editor
Savannah Morning News
PO Box 1088, 11 W. Bay St.
Savannah, GA 31402-1088
Phone: (912) 652-0300
Email: rexanna@savannahnow.com



TeenGo Web Site and On the Verge, Portland, ME 1999

Partners:

The Portland Press Herald

After the shootings at Columbine High School, the newspaper invited teenagers from around Maine to write about what high school life is like today. In April of 1999, 20 essays were published in the newspaper and more than 150 were posted on the "teengo" page of the Press Herald's Web site. The page also launched an interactive forum so teens from all over Maine could chat online and created 20below.com, a Web site for teens. The site attracted visits from about half the teenagers in the state.

In September, the paper distributed 60 disposable cameras to teenagers who came to a pizza night and asked them to chronicle their own lives so it could use the pictures to illustrate teenage life, as part of a series of newspaper stories, and on the Web site.

The essays and photos helped the paper select four communities where teenagers worked together to create their own Web site, using KOZ software, which eliminated the need to learn HTML.


Contact:

Jessica Tomlinson
Online Community Organizer
MaineToday.com
50 Monument Square
Portland, ME 04101
Phone: (207) 822-4072
Email: Jessica@mainetoday.com



Millenium Leadership Project, WA 1999

Partners:

The Front Porch Forum
The Seattle Times
KUOW-FM

The partners sought input from some 40 Seattle area citizens for a project exploring local leadership and what the consensus-loving region seeks in those who lead its public institutions. The partners hosted informal discussions with one group of people who head up leadership development programs and a second group of recognized leaders from Seattle's communities of color. They also held two focus groups with residents to explore the topic.

The partners concluded that participants wanted leaders who show a willingness to take risks, creativity, confidence, commitment and humility. However, few participants could name any local leaders who embodied these traits or whom they felt were well qualified and positioned to lead the region in the future. Instead, they spoke of a lack of leadership on local issues, with more conservative participants believing the private sector was better equipped than the public sector to address these issues.

Reporters used the information to frame a series of stories that ran in The Times and on KUOW in the fall of 1999. The effort proved useful in covering breaking news, as well. When the Seattle police chief was forced to resign after protests disrupted the World Trade Organization meeting in 2000, the partners were able to report what the community was looking for in a new chief.


Contact:

Marion Woyvodich
1138 North 82nd Street
Seattle, WA 98103-4405
Phone: (206) 522-5754
Email: MWoyvodich@aol.com



Kids & Character 2000, Elmira, NY 1999

Partners:

Elmira Star-Gazette

The Sabre Radio Group

The Star-Gazette's focus on teaching values to children turned out to be eerily prescient. Just weeks after its series on the subject ran, two teenagers opened fire on classmates and teachers at Columbine High School in Colorado. The event gave the Star-Gazette's project an added intensity, prompting more area school districts, chambers of commerce and non-profit agencies to pick up the call for character education.

The project began with two Pew-supported surveys - one of 1,000 Elmira-area junior and senior high school students; the other of 450 area adults - asking what values they felt were most important to the community. Responsibility, honesty, respect and tolerance were among the most highly valued traits. The survey results were reported in a front page story Sunday, March 14, 1999. Follow-up installments ran March 21 and 28-30.

The series was timed to coincide with local workshops given by character education specialist Louis Martinez. More than 200 people attended, many saying the newspaper series had persuaded them to go.

When Martinez returned in October, the Star-Gazette sponsored a community forum with parents, teachers, principals, counselors, police and judges on how to instill these traits in area youth.


Contact:

Jane E. Sutter (former Star-Gazette editor)
Managing Editor
Democrat and Chronicle
55 Exchange Blvd.
Rochester, NY 14614
Phone: (585) 258-2301
Email: jsutter@democratandchronicle.com



Target Transportation, Springfield, VA 1999

Partners:

Newschannel 8

The 24-hour, all-news station conducted a phone survey of 1,000 Washington, DC, area residents and found that traffic congestion is the most-often cited problem that impacts daily life. The survey also showed residents preferred developing more mass transit to building new roads as a way to deal with congestion but were generally pro-growth and optimistic about finding solutions.

The Pew-funded poll was mailed to 600 government and community leaders and became the focus for coverage of the issue throughout the year. Special programming included, in February 1999, a 2 1/2-hour live prime-time broadcast bringing together almost 100 citizens in three Washington area jurisdictions (Northern Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia) with elected officials and transit leaders including three congressmen, two state Secretaries of Transportation, two County Executives and executives of the Metro system.


Contact:

Wayne Lynch
Former VP News and Programming
NewsChannel 8
7600-D Boston Blvd.
Springfield, VA 22153
Phone: (703) 912-5339
Email: w76er@aol.com



Neighborhood News Network, Tampa, FL 1999

Partners:

Tampa Bay Weekly Planet

Using a database of more than 300 community groups and media organizations, the Weekly Planet created an email "wire service" for community news to compliment the "Public Life" newsletter launched earlier with Pew support. Grass roots organizations would send the Planet staff news about what they were doing and, about once a week, the Planet would package those stories and send them out via email to some 650 subscribers. The hope was that the community groups would find out where they had projects in common and how they could work together, while at the same time their stories would receive attention from more mainstream media organizations.

As part of the project, journalism students from the University of South Florida and the University of Tampa were tapped to write up the best stories for the Weekly Planet. The partners also planned to use broadcast journalism students to produce a monthly "Neighborhood News Hour" on the public access cable station and were seeking further funding to cover production costs.


Contact:

Ben Eason
President and CEO
Creative Loafing
1310 E. 9th Avenue
Tampa, FL 33605
Phone: (813) 248-8888
Email: ben.eason@creativeloafing.com



Key Moments, Spokane, WA 1999

Partners:

The Spokesman-Review

A team of reporters and editors used (and helped refine) civic journalism "mapping" tools to chart the key moments in the lives of children that can make the difference between success and failure in adulthood. Building on its "City of Second Chances" project, which told the story of Spokane's expanding ex-felon population and how prisons were not solving the problem of troubled people who are incarcerated, the newspaper wanted to answer the question: What would it take to change the lives of people who end up in prison?

The paper held four roundtable discussions with educators, police, religious leaders, counselors and others. That helped editors develop a list of 10 moments in life that are critical in affecting whether kids stray or stay on track. They include five chronological moments: conception to birth, birth to age 3 and the bonding process, age 10, the first day of 7th grade, and adolescent rites of passage such as driving, drinking and sex. There are also five developmental moments: making friends, major moves, times of loss, first failure and first success, and values development.

The Spokesman-Review then surveyed more than 70 teenagers, asking them to evaluate their own experiences in these key moments and where they found help getting through them. Reporter Jeanette White mined the community for children and young adults who exemplified these transitions.

The 10-part series "Key Moments," published in the summer of 2000, included an overview of each key moment, intimate personal stories that put a human face on each one and boxes with tips and lists or resources - all drawn from this innovative use of mapping, focus groups and surveys. After the series ran, the paper held two community forums on the series that helped parents connect with specialists in the community for help during key moments.


Contact:

Chris Peck, (former Spokesman-Review editor)
Editor
The Commercial Appeal
P.O. Box 364
Memphis, TN 38101
Phone: (901) 529-2322

Rebecca Nappi
The Spokesman-Review
999 W. Riverside Ave.
Spokane, WA 99201
Phone: (509) 459-5496
Email: Rebeccan@spokesman.com



Harwood Civic Mapping Seminars, Denver, CO 1999

Partners:

The Harwood Institute
Pew Center for Civic Journalism

This series of three two-day seminars taught reporters and editors from six newsrooms how to improve their capacity to understand and interpret their communities, using the tools and techniques of civic mapping. Mapping helps journalists go beyond official and quasi-official sources of news by identifying and exploring other, less formal layers of civic life. The approach was first outlined by The Harwood Institute (formerly The Harwood Group) in "Tapping Civic Life: How to Report First and Best What's Happening in Your Community," a workbook based on 1994 research at The Wichita Eagle supported and published by the Pew Center.

The Harwood staff led the seminars. Participants included five newspapers and one television station.

The participants each selected areas to map and researched the nature and depth of their newsroom's existing knowledge for those areas. They visited their target areas to interview a range of community leaders and citizens. The resulting maps varied widely in scope and format but each helped strengthen the newsrooms knowledge of the community.

The project proved so successful that the Pew Center published a second edition of "Tapping Civic Life," to reflect the participants' experiences. The center also partnered with the Harwood Group for several more seminars that eventually involved 24 news organizations across the country in civic mapping training.


Contact:

Richard C. Harwood
President
Harwood Inst. for Public Innovationbr> 4915 St. Elmo Ave, Suite 402
Bethesda, MD 20814
Phone: (301) 656-3669
Email: rharwood@theharwoodinstitute.org

Jan Schaffer
Executive Director
Pew Center for Civic Journalism
7100 Baltimore Avenue, Suite 101
College Park, MD 20740-3637
Phone: (301) 985-4020
Email: jans@pccj.org



Civic Mapping, Anniston, AL 1999

Partners:

Anniston Star

The Star used civic mapping techniques to generate a database of more than 600 informal community leaders from churches, parent-teacher groups, civil rights organizations and other sources. The database could be searched by organization, community and area of interest and it was centrally located in the newsroom so any reporter could use it to find community sources for a story.

The first big pay-off came March 2, 1999, the day the Alabama Legislature began its annual session. Instead of the usual lawmakers and lobbyists, the front page featured ideas gathered from a forum where 12 of these informal leaders met with all five members of the area's legislative delegation and raised issues they wanted addressed by the lawmakers.

Similar issues forums continued to be a major use of the civic map. The Star would convene discussion groups of one to two dozen informal opinion leaders on a given topic and use the ideas they generated to guide coverage of that topic.

The database proved useful in a number of other ways as well. The paper used the civic map to generate a series of savvy, in-depth community profiles. It generated sources for local comment on major national events. And it provided sources of material for The Star's Community Page, launched in 1999.


Contact:

Chris Waddle
Executive Editor
The Anniston Star
P.O. Box 189
Anniston, AL 36202-0189
Phone: (256) 235-9208
Email: cwaddle@annistonstar.com



Inside Oakland, Oakland, CA 1999

Partners:

UC Berekley Journalism School
The Oakland Post

This project not only provided hands-on training in civic journalism, but it also improved coverage of a community usually overlooked by mainstream media. Eight graduate journalism students, enrolled in Berkeley's "Covering a Community" course in the spring 1999 semester, produced five editions of a supplement to the black-owned weekly, The Oakland Post, called "Inside Oakland." They also produced ten 30-minute radio shows (also called "Inside Oakland") for KALX-FM.

Students learned a variety of skills as they were in charge of all aspects of production - writing, editing and lay out. Most importantly, says their professor, Bill Drummond, they learned how to cover a community from the inside. Each student was assigned to cover one of Oakland's City Council districts. Drummond says they penetrated those neighborhoods and became recognized by the people they were covering. The students held a focus group with 10 of the supplement's readers to discuss what issues the community wanted covered.

The supplements and radio shows featured stories about an entertainment renaissance in a formerly blighted neighborhood, the efficacy of community policing and the quality of life for elderly in the community. In the final edition, students wrote that the effort was personally rewarding.


Contact:

William J. Drummond
Professor of Journalism
University of California- Berkeley
121 North Gate Hall, #5860
Berkeley, CA 94720-5860
Phone: (510) 642-5710
Email: drummond@rosebud.berkeley.edu



Care & Consequences, Binghamton, NY 1999

Partners:

Press & Sun-Bulletin
WSKG Public Broadcasting

The Pew Center supported a series of public forums, newspaper stories and radio and television broadcasts, which began in May 1998 and ran periodically through 1999, to educate the aging population in and around Binghamton, NY, on issues related to the end of life. The partners also launched a Web site, www.careproject.net, dedicated to helping people plan in advance - rather than at a time of crisis - for the ethical, financial, legal, spiritual and medical decisions associated with dying. The Web site received about 1,330 hits per month in 1999.

Several hundred people attended various community meetings held throughout the year on different aspects of dying. Through those meetings and other events, the partners distributed some 2,400 wallet-size "health care proxy cards" that could be filled in with emergency contact information and special instructions for end-of-life health care.

WSKG broadcasts included a radio town meeting to kick off the project, live radio and TV call-in shows and a town meeting simulcast on both radio and television to wrap up the series. The partners also received separate funding to purchase reference books and audio-visual materials on the issues, which remain in permanent collections at 52 public libraries in the Binghamton area.


Contact:

Juan Martinez
WSKG Public Broadcasting
601 Gates Rd.
Vestal, NY 13850
Phone: (607) 729-0100



Citizens' Links for News, St. Paul, MN 1999

Partners:

Internews Interactive
KTCA-TV

Pew Center funds supported the use of videoconferencing technology that allowed KTCA to originate broadcasts from new and unconventional locations and to connect citizens from far-flung parts of the large, rural state. The result was innovative programming with groundbreaking levels of interactivity.

The first broadcast to use the new technology, in January 1999, linked newly elected Gov. Jesse Ventura, in the KTCA studios in St. Paul, with citizens in Bemidji, Mankato, Duluth, Windom and Minneapolis for a discussion of his new tax policies.

The program was so successful, the governor's office agreed to an ongoing series of discussions. Later programs featured discussions of education and agricultural policy.

The technology was also used to link citizens from a Minneapolis soul food restaurant, Lucille's Kitchen, with white residents of a depressed farming community for a series of riveting discussions about their similarities and differences.

A live show in June 1999 linked two families with teenage children from the living rooms of their homes to the KTCA studios for a discussion of underage drinking. During the broadcast, the teens took a test, published in the Star Tribune, designed to identify teenage drinking risk factors.

Use of the technology to allow ordinary citizens to participate in public discussions from their own zones of comfort - the restaurants, shopping malls and other "third places" in their own communities - became a permanent and popular fixture in KTCA programming.


Contact:

Bill Hanley
Executive VP, Content
KTCA-TV (PBS)
172 East 4th Street
St. Paul, MN 55101
Phone: (651) 229-1380

Email: bhanley@ktca.org

Evelyn Messinger
Director
Internews Network
705 Mission Avenue
San Rafael, CA 94901
Phone: (415) 457-5222
Email: emessinger@internews.org



Eyes on the Bronx, Bronx, NY 1999

Partners:

BRONXNET
The Bronx Journal

BronxNet extended its efforts to link the borough's multi-ethnic communities with the creation of several new broadcasts, utilizing its four public-access cable channels and its Web site. The broadcasts took advantage of the newly built Bronx Journalism Center at Lehman College, opened in 1999 and featuring both audio and video production facilities that allowed it to serve as a kind of "town square" for broadcast community discussions on issues of importance.

"Bronxtalk AM," a daily, two-hour, interactive call-in show about community news and public affairs, was televised on cable while the audio portion was streamed through the BronxNet Web site. A second program, "The Bronx Today," provided in-depth analytical discussions of issues such as community policing, the privatization of New York City hospitals and other grass roots issues. The show included a live call-in segment to allow viewer participation.

Some of the Pew Center funds also went to support the publication of a pull-out section for children in The Bronx Journal, a tabloid published by Lehman's Multi-Lingual Journalism Program which earlier Pew funding helped to launch.


Contact:

Jim Carney
Executive Director
Bronxnet- Lehman College
Carman Hall Room C-4
Bronx, NY 10468-1589
Phone: (718) 960-1180
Email: jcarney@bronxnet.com

Patricio Lerzundi, Ph.D.
Director, Multi-Lingual Journalism
Lehman College
250 Bedford Park Blvd. West
Carman Hall 266
Bronx, NY 10468
Phone: (718) 960-8215
Email: lerzundi@alpha.lehman.cuny.edu



The Death of Ryan Harris: A Community Responds, Chicago, IL 1999

Partners:

The Chicago Reporter

The newspaper revisited the 1998 slaying of 11-year-old Ryan Harris and its aftermath, finding it a critical point in police-community relations in Chicago's crime-ridden Englewood neighborhood. Reporters reconstructed the police investigation of the crime, which led to the brief and controversial arrest of two young, neighborhood boys. (An adult was later charged with the murder.) They also analyzed nearly a decade of crime statistics and police calls in the neighborhood, obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request.

With the help of graduate students at Northwestern's Medill School of Journalism, the paper conducted a phone survey of 304 residents about the Ryan Harris case, crime in general in their neighborhood and their relations with police. It also took inventory of community resources, paying special attention to the availability of mental health services.

A 16-page special report on the findings constituted the monthly's December 1999 issue. An extra 1,000 copies were printed and distributed to area churches, schools and community organizations and extra features appeared on The Reporter's Web site, www.chicagoreporter.com. The information also became the basis for a community meeting in Englewood in January, attended by about 100 residents, who praised the project. Portions of the project were picked up by The Associated Press, WBEZ-FM (NPR), WGN-TV, the Chicago Sun Times and the Chicago Tribune.


Contact:

Laura S. Washington (Former Reporter Editor and Publisher)
3750 Lake Shore Dr., Apt. 8-C
Chicago, IL 60613
Phone: (773) 327-4025
Email: lauraswashington@aol.com


1998


Front Porch Forum, Seattle, WA 1998

Partners:

The Seattle Times
KCTS
KPLU-FM
KUOW-FM

Following up on the 1997 mock trial on growth in the Puget Sound, the partners confronted longstanding assumptions about the issue with a series called, "Growth: Enough already?"

The mock jury in the 1997 "Puget Sound 2020" project had startled the partners by ignoring the common wisdom about growth - that it can't be avoided; only managed. Participants said they favored stopping growth altogether. So the partners decided to explore whether that was really possible.

Beginning May 17, 1998, the partners produced stories exploring five broad themes: 1) Is growth inevitable? 2) Does growth pay for itself? Should it? 3) The impact of government economic development incentives. 4) Immigration and growth. 5) The birth rate and growth. Each installment invited reader feedback, which was published in subsequent issues or broadcasts.

In October, the partners gathered 30 demographically representative citizens from the region to discuss policy alternatives for managing growth. Three county Executives observed the session and offered comments afterward. Reporters included the citizen and politicians' comments in a final wrap up report in the Times, Nov. 22 and on radio and television Nov. 23.


Contact:

David Boardman
Assistant Managing Editor
The Seattle Times
PO Box 70
Seattle, WA 98111
Phone: (206) 464-2205
Email: dboardman@seattletimes.com

Marion Woyvodich
1138 North 82nd Street
Seattle, WA 98103-4405
Phone: (206) 522-5754
Fax: (206) 528-5528
Email: MWoyvodich@aol.com



Race Relations in El Paso, El Paso, TX 1998

Partners:

KVIA-TV (ABC)

In this largely Hispanic town on the Mexican border, the media partners opened a conversation on race, immigration and language with a series built around a poll of 1,008 residents in English and Spanish.

The first step the partners took was to convene a panel of academic and civic leaders, who met almost weekly through December and January of 1997, crafting the language of the poll's questions. For example, a question on bi-lingual education was changed from "Do you favor ending bi-lingual education?" to "Do you support bi-lingual education?"

The poll was conducted in February 1998 by interviewers who spoke both English and Spanish. The results were reported in an eight-part series called "Attitudes and Answers," that began May 10, 1998. The poll found areas of agreement between Anglos and Hispanics but showed a major rift on the issues of affirmative action (most Hispanics supported it while most Anglos opposed it) and language (79 percent of Anglos favored making English the official language of the United States while only 42 percent of Hispanics felt that way).

On May 13, the partners held a town hall forum attended by 160 people, who agreed that though relations between Anglo and Hispanic El Paso residents are generally good, there lingered a subtle racism that was worthy of examination and discussion. Bob Moore, now executive editor, said both the poll and the forum provided the framework for people to feel comfortable discussing the issues.


Contacts:

Robert Moore
Executive Editor
El Paso Times
PO Box 20
El Paso, TX 79999
Phone: (915) 546-6145
Email: bmoore@elpasotimes.com

Kevin Lovell
General Manager
KVIA-TV (ABC)
4140 Rio Bravo Drive
El Paso, TX 79902
Phone: (915) 496-7777
Email: kevinl@kvia.com



A Collision Course, Idaho Falls, ID 1998

Partners:

Idaho Falls Post Register
Lewiston Morning Tribune
Idaho Spokesman-Review
Idaho Public Television
KTVB (NBC, Boise)

This unique partnership sparked a statewide conversation on Idaho's runaway prison spending with "Collision Course," a five-part series that revealed the hidden cost of building more jails and engaged hundreds of people in the search for alternatives.

As a point of comparison, the partners chose declining state spending on higher education to illustrate how escalating prison spending was affecting Idaho's quality of life. A poll of 804 residents in October 1997 showed 73 percent disagreed with the state's spending priorities. A series of focus groups in six communities explored the reasoning behind the opinions the poll surfaced.

Each paper focused on one part of the overall story. The Spokesman-Review, for instance, coordinated polling and took the lead role in writing the kick-off segment while the Statesman created a database on prison population trends and wrote the bulk of prisoner profiles and articles on higher education. All four papers ran the series from Nov. 16 to 24, 1997. KTVB produced a four-part series of stories that week. Idaho public television broadcast a live town hall meeting Nov. 24.

The series prompted a noticeable change in elected officials' approach to the issue, which had been dominated by law-and-order, lock-'em-up rhetoric. After the series, legislators explored sentencing reform proposals that would reduce the number of non-violent offenders incarcerated.

The partners seized the momentum of the project to launch "Idaho Speaks Out," a civic approach to their 1998 election coverage. A statewide poll in May, the largest ever taken in Idaho, revealed four major issues-federal debt, health care costs, taxes and schools-as voters biggest concerns. A second poll in September refined the findings, showing that education was the issue that would most influence voter decisions. The partners shared the information and analysis; then each partner used it to develop stories tailored to local readers and viewers.

"Collision Course" shared in the 1998 Batten Award.


Contact:

Dennis Joyce (formerly with Statesman)
Asst Managing Editor
Arizona Daily Star
PO Box 26807
Tucson, AZ 85726-6807
Phone: (520) 573-4224
Fax: (520) 573-4200
Email: djoyce@azstarnet.com

Dean Miller
Managing Editor
The Post Register
P.O. Box 1800
Idaho Falls, ID 83403
Phone: (208) 542-6766
Email: dmiller@idahonews.com



The New City, San Francisco, CA 1998

Partners:

San Francisco Examiner
Maynard Institute for Journalism

After months of ground level reporting, the paper published the first story in the series on April 26, 1998. It was a 175-inch, front page centerpiece that jumped into four inside pages. That first installment also launched a feature called "First Person" that gave people a chance to talk in their own voices. Over the course of the year, the paper published 19 major stories in the series, plus sidebars and "First Persons."

Editors worked hard to gain strong staff support for the project, even among reporters who didn't work on it directly. One tool was The New City Tour, a bus tour of some of the city's more obscure neighborhoods with Max Kirkeberg, a San Francisco State University geographer. More than half the staff took the tour.

Another strategy was to have every department contribute stories to the series, leading to some of the most interesting features, such as a sports department report on cricket, hurling and other exotic, new sports being played in San Francisco's public parks. The paper had originally envisioned a one year project but felt compelled to continue the series. Stories under "The New City" sig continued to run until the paper was sold in 2000.


Contact:

Sharon Rosenhause (former Managing Editor, San Francisco Examiner)
Managing Editor
Sun-Sentinel
200 E. Las Olas Blvd
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301
Phone: (954) 356-4602
Email: srosenhause@sun-sentinel.com



Beyond the Ballot: Maine's Issues in the New Millennium, Portland, ME 1998

Partners:

Portland Newspapers
Central Maine Newspapers
WGME-TV (CBS)
Maine Public Television

"Beyond the Ballot" not only dramatically changed the way major media in coastal Maine covered the statewide 1998 elections, it set the course for their coverage of politics and government for the four years that followed.

Beginning with a poll of 1,106 Maine residents in the summer of 1998, the partners let voters decide which issues determine which issues candidates should address and the partners should cover. The poll uncovered a divide between prosperous southern Maine, where taxes and sprawl were most troubling, and the rest of Maine where jobs were the major concern. The partners then organized and covered a series of six day-long meetings in different areas of the state to probe deeper into the findings. Some 1,500 citizens contributed their input to the partners' understanding of the issues. Other media also took an interest in the citizens' views. Daily papers in Lewiston and Bangor, along with more than a dozen weeklies and local radio stations, covered the forums or wrote about the project.

The citizens' views and issues guided the partners' election coverage through the fall and, when the election was over, the partners published a book. "Beyond the Ballot: Maine people on Maine's future," outlining the issues of greatest concern and proposed legislative solutions to problems, was sent to the governor, state legislature, local leaders and public libraries. The book also became a benchmark by which to assess state government, with follow-up reporting on the progress the governor and legislature were making in addressing the citizens' issues.


Contact:

Jeannine A. Guttman (former Executive Editor, Portland Newspapers)
Editor and VP
Portland Press Herald
PO Box 1460
Portland, ME 04104
Phone: (207) 791-6310
Email: jguttman@pressherald.com

Jessica Tomlinson
Online Community Organizer
MaineToday.com
50 Monument Square
Portland, ME 04101
Phone: (207) 822-4072
Fax: (207) 879-1042
Email: Jessica@mainetoday.com



The Election Connection, Los Angeles, CA 1998

Partners:

Orange County Register
Riverside Press Enterprise
KCET-TV (PBS)
KCRW-FM in Santa Monica
KPCC-FM in Pasadena
Orange County News Channel

The partners, who'd been working together since the 1996 "Voice of the Voter" project, called their third joint effort "The Election Connection" to emphasize the goal of helping voters feel connectedto the electoral process. The project began with a poll of 600 voters to determine which issues were their highest priorities. Reporters from each news organization then spoke with respondents for stories on the poll and on each issue. Coordinated coverage among all the partners began March 16, 1998 with an overview of poll results. Issues stories ran every two weeks through the June 2 primary.

The partners also coordinated coverage of the financing behind four major initiatives on the 1998 ballot. For example, their stories revealed that most of the support for a ballot measure that would restrict the use of union dues came from conservative groups outside the state. The measure was defeated. Opposition to another initiative, allowing gambling on Native American reservations, was largely financed by Nevada casino owners. That measure passed.

In attempting to stimulate public conversation about the election, the partners brought together a panel of politically and ethnically diverse Southern Californians to watch and discuss the debate between leading gubernatorial candidates. They also sponsored a debate between candidates for state attorney general. KCBS-TV aired a weekly Election Connection talk show on Sunday mornings and KCET-TV hosted a one-hour special featuring a live studio audience on a ballot issue that would eliminate bi-lingual education in California schools.

A second poll conducted after the primary was the first to show Democrat Gray Davis with a double-digit lead over his opponent in the gubernatorial race and the first to show Republican congressional candidates in jeopardy because of a public backlash against GOP efforts to impeach President Clinton.

The partners considered their Web site, electionconnection.org, one of their major successes. The site received 158,000 visits between March and November 1998, with a spike of 50,000 visits for November.


Contacts:

Dennis Foley (former Chairman, The Election Connection, a project of the Southern California Voices of the Voter coalition)
County Government Reporter
The Orange County Register
PO Drawer 11626
Santa Ana, CA 92711-1626
Phone: (714) 285-2862
Email: dfoley@ocregister.com



Multi-lingual News Programming, BronxNet, Bronx, NY 1998

Partners:

BronxNet Community Cable
The Bronx Journal
The Multilingual Journalism Program at Lehman College of the City University of New York

In their ongoing and multifaceted effort to give voice to the Bronx's underserved ethnic communities, BronxNet and the Multilingual Journalism Program at Lehman College launched a multilingual news show and a series of special programs on issues of particular importance to the borough's residents.

"News 67" was launched in the spring of 1998 in Italian and Japanese. By the fall, a French edition of the weekly television newsmagazine was added and, later, a Korean edition. BronxNet specials included a live, interactive call-in on the future of Northern Ireland in May 1998. In the fall, the partners televised a live discussion of the impact of AIDS on college-age people in a broadcast that linked all 17 campuses of the City University of New York. "Social Security and Generation X," a month later, linked the campuses with participants in Puerto Rico. For both broadcasts, translators handled questions and comments in Spanish on the air.

Bronx public schools began using Lehman's student-published newspaper, The Bronx Journal, launched with earlier Pew support, for its Newspaper in Education program, which nearly doubled its circulation of 7,000 to 13,000. This prompted the paper to pilot a children's section, supported through later Pew funding.


Contact:

Jim Carney
Executive Director
Bronxnet- Lehman College
Carman Hall Room C-4
Bronx, NY 10468-1589
Phone: (718) 960-1180
Email: jcarney@bronxnet.com



Special Report on Wrightwood, Chicago, IL, 1998

Partners:

The Chicago Reporter
WBEZ-FM
WNUA-FM

The Pew Center provided additional funding to allow the investigative monthly to complete its portrait of racial change in the Chicago neighborhood of Wrightwood. The story appeared in the April 1998 issue. For more details, please see Year Four (1997) projects.


Contact:

Laura S. Washington
3750 Lake Shore Dr., Apt. 8-C
Chicago, IL 60613
Phone: (773) 327-4025
Email: lauraswashington@aol.com



Changing Tides, Aberdeen, WA 1998

Partners:

The Daily World Channel 20
TCI Cablevision

In year two of their "Changing Tides" project, the partners attempted to bring together citizens and community leaders to craft solutions to the political, economic and environmental challenges the region faced.

A March 1998 mail survey of 130 traditional community leaders - elected officials, educators, union leaders and others - turned up marked differences from an earlier poll of 400 area residents. The survey found traditional leaders more pessimistic than the general public about their ability to solve the region's problems. They also preferred private-sector solutions while the general public thought government should be more responsible. Four out of five community leaders thought local government represented the people well; less than half the public agreed. While both groups agreed the economy was the top priority, there was no consensus on how to improve it.

A May forum brought the two groups together and surfaced support for dramatic solutions to community problems. Citizens, for instance, said they would be willing to pay more taxes to support a downtown renewal project.

While the project was community-focused, it had a big impact on The Daily World newsroom. As one editor put it, "The key lesson is that we, as reporters, should begin to think of citizens as players... and to make that citizen voice part of our coverage." The paper built staff training into the project, including a series of brown-bag sessions on civic journalism and a staff retreat to discuss citizens' voices and lessons learned from the project.


Contact:

Matt Hufman (formerly at The Daily World)
Metro Editor
Las Vegas Sun
PO Box 98970
Las Vegas, NV 89193-8970
Phone: (702) 385-3111
Email: matt@lasvegassun.com



Muncie, IN 1998

Partners:

The Muncie Star-Press
WLBC-FM

When Indiana legislators met in 1999 to begin restructuring the state tax system, they had a good understanding of what their constituents thought about the issue, thanks to a booklet called "Hoosiers Talk Taxes," the culmination of a yearlong project to inject citizen voices into the debate over tax reform.

The first effort in the project was to educate journalists themselves about the complex issues surrounding tax reform. Economics professors from three Indiana universities held a seminar that attracted 20 journalists, in June 1998. The session aired live on WLBC and was broadcast later on cable.

A five-part series, "Tax Reform: Finding a Balance," ran in The Star Press from Oct. 3 to Oct. 7, 1998. It included the results of a mail survey completed by 223 Muncie area residents, showing property taxes to be by far the most unpopular tax in the state. On Oct. 6, the partners sponsored a public forum, attended by 103 people, including eight legislators, to discuss the results.

The survey results also helped guide a statewide poll of 507 Indiana residents, in late October and November, which showed most Hoosiers favored increasing so-called "sin" taxes on tobacco and alcohol. The survey results and coverage were included in "Hoosiers Talk Taxes," mailed to the governor and every member of the General Assembly in early 1999.

The issue languished until the summer of 2002, when the governor called the legislature into a special session to resolve the issue. The Assembly ended up changing the assessment system for property taxation and increasing the state income tax and sales taxes on tobacco and alcohol, thus taking the pressure off local property taxes - all measures explored in the 1999 series.


Contact:

Larry S. Lough
Editor
The Star Press
345 South High Street
Muncie, In 47305
Phone: (765) 213-5700
Email: llough@thestarpress.com




PBS' Livelyhood 1998

Partners:

The Working Group
KQED-TV
Public Radio's "Marketplace"

The critically acclaimed "Livelyhood" project, a four-part, public television series on the changing nature of work in the United States, used a national poll, town hall-style discussions, the Internet and a specially devised "tool kit" to encourage working Americans to confront and discuss emerging challenges and issues in the workplace. The Pew Center helped to support some of that outreach.

The four, one-hour television shows, which debuted on PBS, Nov. 21, 1997, covered the issues of downsizing, working families, employee ownership and community solutions to workplace problems. By design, the shows were intended not as passive entertainment but as a stimulus to discussion. To that end, the producers worked with other media to create forums for discussion. One tool used was a "Livelyhood Index," developed from the national poll results, which capsulized the findings in such statements as: "Percentage of working Americans who say they have more than one wage-earner in the household: 62." Discussion leaders, who included talk-radio hosts, could use the index as a jumping off point to get listener opinion on the issues.

After the "Working Family Values" installment, aired May 29, 1998, the producers worked with KCET-TV in Los Angeles on a town hall discussion of work issues. For the September 1998 broadcast of "Honey, We Bought the Company," which featured a Maine company, the producers partnered with the University of Southern Maine for a town hall meeting in Portland on employee-ownership issues. The producers also held a roundtable discussion in Oakland. The final installment, "Our Towns," aired Jan. 12, 1999.


Contact:

Patrice O'Neill
Executive Producer, Livelyhood; Co-Founder
The Working Group
1611 Telegraph Ave., Suite 1550
Oakland, CA 94612
Phone: (510) 268-9675
Email: poneill@theworkinggroup.org



California Campaign Finance Database, Sacramento, CA 1998

Partners:

California Voter Foundation

In the fall of 1998, the California Voter Foundation (CVF) produced the state's first online database of campaign contributions received by candidates for state office and by ballot measure campaigns. CVF also produced its first annual Online Voter Guide, which received 50,000 visits and 450,000 page views over a six-week period around the Nov. 3, 1998 election.

The first step was to publicize the state's and the Federal Election Commission's voluntary electronic filing programs, which allowed candidates to report contributions and expenditures digitally so that interested citizens could view the information through the Internet rather than having to make a trip to the elections office to get a paper copy. Participating news organizations asked every candidate for state office, Congress and U.S. Senate if they would participate in the program. Those who filed voluntarily received a pat on the back in the Online Voters Guide. For those who did not, CVF obtained the paper filings and had student volunteers enter the information into an electronic, searchable database (developed by Compaq labs). Eight of the 16 major-party statewide candidates agreed to file electronically.

The information was incorporated into the popular Online Voters Guide with the debut of a feature called "Follow the Money." Voters and journalists could view all the contributions to a candidate almost immediately after they were disclosed and CVF published and maintained up-to-date lists of the top 10 contributors to every statewide candidate and ballot measure, providing voters with a quick, easy-to-digest overview of the biggest funders behind each campaign. In all, the site logged 100,000 visits in 1998 and over one million page views. Users wrote thank you notes such as this one: "It is each of our responsibility to be informed voters. Your site is helping ensure that I am in that category."


Contact:

Kim Alexander
President & Founder
California Voter Foundation
222D Street, Suite 6B
Davis, CA 95616
Phone: (530) 750-7650
Email: kimalex@calvoter.org


Citizens' Agenda, Rochester NY 1998

Partners:

The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle
WXXI-TV (PBS)
WXXI-FM
WOKR-TV (ABC)

The partners sought to shake up "business as usual" election coverage by engaging citizens in producing a set of grassroots legislative proposals for candidates that would rival the agenda set by special interest lobbyists. "The Citizens' Agenda" was crafted through a statewide poll, eight forums and two months of weekly meetings by a panel of citizens who finalized the work in a live broadcast two weeks before the election.

The partners launched the process with a poll of 707 New York residents to identify their top issues. Candidates were then asked to take the same poll. Stories on Sept. 13 and 14, 1998 compared the two sets of answers. A series of eight town and neighborhood meetings, attracting a total of more than 100 people, gave the partners additional insight into local concerns and what voters wanted to see happen in the state Senate and Assembly after the election.

The partners ran a series of stories on the top issues: Taxes and the state budget, health care, crime, education and jobs. At the same time, they convened a panel of 16 voters, balanced to reflect accurately their viewing, listening and readership area. Using poll data and personal experience, the panel met weekly for two months to work on their agenda. Then, on Oct. 21, 1998, WXXI-TV aired a live 90-minute special in which the final document was debated and produced. The paper published the resulting agenda and mailed it to every state legislator in Albany.

In December - after the election but before the legislature began meeting - the partners sponsored two meetings between the citizen panel and the local delegation to discuss the citizens' proposals.


Contact:

Gary Walker
VP of Television
WXXI-TV
280 State St - PO Box 30021
Rochester, NY 14603-3021
Phone: (585) 258-0241
Email: gwalker@wxxi.org



Project Reconnect, American Society of Newspaper Editors 1998-99

Partners:

News & Observer, Raleigh, NC
The Gazette, Colorado Springs, CO
Fredericksburg Freelance Star, Fredericksburg, VA
The State, Columbia, SC

"Project Reconnect" teamed four daily newspapers with four journalism schools to close the distance that had grown between the papers and certain groups of readers (or ex-readers). In Raleigh, The News and Observer wanted to reconnect with working-class readers. In Colorado Springs, The Gazette sought to lure back business readers. The Fredericksburg Freelance Star wanted to be more relevant to African-American readers and The State in Columbia wanted to reconnect with readers who had strong religious affiliations.

Each team took a different approach and each had different results. One common element, though, was that each met with focus groups of readers in the disaffected category and listened non-defensively for ways in which they could better serve those readers without compromising the paper's overall quality.

The Gazette took the most radical step of the four, launching a whole new Monday business section, "Inside Track," and hiring more business reporters, based on the suggestions of its focus group of business readers.

The News and Observer ran a major project on the blue-collar town of Garner, on Aug. 10, 1997, that included an entire page written by Garner residents. The project showed the paper could accurately reflect the ideas and concerns of working class readers, and the paper pledged to do more to get such stories in the paper on a regular basis.

Rather than a major project, The State took a more systemic approach to reconnecting with religious readers. Focus-group participants, who described themselves as "devoutly religious," objected to being lumped together with labels such as "right-wing Christians." The paper stopped using those labels and began giving more specific information about religious people covered in the news.

Only the Freelance Star saw a conflict between its basic mission and the focus-group suggestions for reconnecting with African-American readers. Focus-group participants objected to the paper's frequent stories about Civil War battles fought more than a century earlier, but editor Ed Jones was reluctant to scale back such coverage, viewing it as a key interest of most readers. Jones said the project convinced him, though, he needed to add stories about African-American history.


Contact:

Judy VanSlyke Turk
Dir, Schl of Mass Communications
Virginia Commonwealth University
P.O. Box 842034
Richmond, VA 23284-2034
Phone: (804) 828-2660


1997


Changing Tides, Aberdeen, WA 1997

Partners:

The Daily World of Aberdeen
Channel 20
TCI Cablevision

Political, economic and environmental forces were changing life on the Southern Olympic Peninsula and its paper decided to help citizens join together to meet the resulting challenges. Partnering with cable channel 20 - the only station in the county - the Daily World launched "Changing Tides" in April 1997, a two-year effort to chart a new course for the region.

The series debuted in the paper's annual "Perspectives" edition, with nearly 100 pages in six inside sections on the region's logging and fishing history and how that history related to present day issues, when environmental laws had reduced opportunities in those areas. Then the paper engaged citizens in discussing the changes and their impact through a series of three focus groups with 30 people chosen randomly from three separate areas of the region. The paper covered the focus-group discussions in front-page stories in August 1997 and also invited readers to add their input to the citizens' comments. The paper printed responses in a Sunday feature, "It's Your Call," which became a regular weekly feature. The paper also used the input to develop questions for a telephone poll of 400 people. Poll results were published in December and were discussed at community forums. A final survey of 130 people recognized as community leaders - elected officials, educators, union leaders and others - was conducted by mail in March 1998 and showed the officials struggling to arrive at a common vision for the region's future.

Still, the Daily World reported a number of developments showing the project had an impact. According to project editor Matt Hufman, community activists, fishermen and Native American tribes worked together to figure out how to split a dwindling salmon run and one local town changed its government from a three-person commission to a seven-member council in response to charges of aloofness and inaccessibility.


Contact:

Matt Hufman (formerly at the Daily World)
Metro Editor
Las Vegas Sun
PO Box 98970
Las Vegas, NV 89193-8970
TEL: (702) 385-3111
FAX: (702) 383-7264
EMAIL: matt@lasvegassun.com



Boom Town Faces its Future, Myrtle Beach, SC 1997

Partners:

The Sun News
Cox Broadcasting

After the results of an informal Sun News survey showed serious community concern about rapid growth, the paper launched an 11-month project, "Living in a Boom Town." The paper had asked readers to respond to six open-ended questions about the Myrtle Beach area. Some 300 responses showed five main areas of concern: traffic, growth, elected officials, schools and culture. A five part series exploring each of these topics began April 27, 1997. Each package included a "primer," giving background on the issue, comments from readers and additional resources for more information. The paper also set up a phone line for more reader comments and started a discussion forum on growth issues on its Web site. It followed people's concerns through ongoing coverage of one neighborhood, Socastee, which was wrestling with all of the issues involved.

In November, the paper sponsored five focus groups, each with members who represented different segments of the community: newcomers, retirees, parents, young adults and Socastee residents. Despite the differences in the groups' make-up, the paper found broad agreement on growth issues. The focus groups guided a second series of stories, published in February and March of 1998. For instance, the focus groups showed strong support for impact fees on developers, and the paper wrote about how impact fees worked in other areas. The focus groups voiced disillusionment with elected officials, and the paper reported on what elected positions were open and how to file to run for public office.

The project culminated in a "Boom Town Civic Fair," March 28, 1998, which attracted about 400 people. The paper also began two weekly features: an informational graphic that showed the goals of a particular government body were and the status of work toward the goal and a column, "Speaking Up/Boom Town Forum," for reader comments.

Contacts:

Susan C. Deans (Former Editor, The Sun News)
Asst Managing Editor/Weekends
Denver Rocky Mountain News
400 West Colfax Avenue
Denver, CO 80204
TEL: (303) 892-2386
FAX: (303) 892-2841
EMAIL: deanss@denver-rmn.com

John X. Miller (Former Managing Editor, The Sun News)
Public Editor
Detroit Free Press
600 West Fort Street
Detroit, MI 48226-3138
TEL: (313) 222-6803
FAX: (313) 222-5981
EMAIL: miller@freepress.com



We the People/Wisconsin, Madison, WI 1997

Partners:

Wisconsin StateJournal
Wisconsin Public TV
WISC-TV
Wisconsin Public Radio
Wood Communications

The oldest, continuously operating civic journalism partnership tackled issues of race and culture in 1997 both with programming and outreach activities. With its "We the People500" effort, the partners diversified and broadened the base of citizens who attended their town hall meetings, coffee shop conversations and other listening sessions. Those sessions had generally reflected Wisconsin's overwhelmingly white population so the partnership reached out to news organizations in seven cities with larger minority populations to join in sponsoring some events. The new partners included print and broadcast media in Milwaukee, La Crosse, Eau Claire, Wausau, Hayward, Superior and Beloit. The partners also held focus groups to learn how minority citizens get their news and how "We the People" could be more involved in reaching those citizens and reconnecting them with public life.

The outreach helped engage participants for a forum on race and culture on April 3, 1998, as part of "We the People's" project "150 Years and Counting." Some 75 participants took part in a frank and emotional conversation in which many white members of the audience pledged to fight racism, while many non-white participants said whites couldn't possibly understand the difficulties they face. The statewide broadcast reached approximately 50,000 people and generated several responses to the "Your Forum" section of the Wisconsin State Journal, as well as editorials and stories in other media partners.

The forum was one of five in a year-long series tied to the 150th anniversary of Wisconsin's statehood. Other subjects included the family, land use and working. A "Citizens' Charter" was developed from suggestions and values discussed by participants in the first four forums and then presented to candidates for governor and for U.S. Senate at a final forum broadcast live on Oct. 16, 1998.


Contacts:

Thomas W. Still
President
Wisconsin Technology Council
PO Box 71, 615 E. Washington Ave.
Madison, WI 53701-0071
TEL: (608) 442-7557
FAX: (608) 256-0333
EMAIL: tstill@wisctec.com

Tom Bier
General Manager
WISC-TV
7025 Raymond Rd.
Madison, WI 53719
TEL: (608) 271-5171
FAX: (608) 271-0800
EMAIL: tbier@wisctv.com

David Iverson
Executive Director
Best Practices in Journalism
2601 Mariposa St.
San Francisco, CA 94110
TEL: (415) 553-2489
EMAIL: iverson@wpt.org



Front Porch Forum, Seattle, WA 1997

Partners:

The Seattle Times
KCTS
KPLU-FM
KUOW-FM

With all the Seattle area had going for it in the mid-90's, there was a sense that the region could not sustain its enviable quality of life into the 21st Century. The "Front Porch Forum" partners saw this as an opportunity to expand their civic journalism effort beyond politics and elections and into community-based decision-making about the future. "Puget Sound 2020" involved more than 2,000 citizens in imagining what the region should look like in 20 years and what it would take to make it happen.

Reporting kicked off in the summer of 1997 with 13 reporters from the participating newsrooms attending a series of "Pizza on the Porch" parties in which 1,500 residents talked about the region's future informally over pizza in private homes. Concerns that emerged included traffic, affordable housing and teachers' salaries. The results were used to formulate a public opinion poll conducted in September.

Then in October, 1997, the partners empaneled a mock "jury" of 100 citizens selected randomly from the area that heard oral arguments by "prosecutors" and "defense attorneys" on regional issues. They found the region "guilty" of failing to plan well enough for the future. The judge "sentenced" them to return for a second Saturday of deliberations to come up with solutions. The sessions were covered by the paper and aired in edited form by the broadcast partners. The deliberations also yielded a report for policy makers on sustaining the region's quality of life. That report was integrated into election coverage, with "jurors" asking candidates for King County Executive and Seattle Mayor to respond to the suggestions at separate forums.


Contacts:

David Boardman
Managing Editor
The Seattle Times Co.
PO Box 70
Seattle, WA 98111
TEL: (206) 464-2160
FAX: (206) 464-2261
EMAIL: dboardman@seattletimes.com

Marion Woyvodich
1138 North 82nd Street
Seattle, WA 98103-4405
TEL: (206) 522-5754
FAX: (206) 528-5528
EMAIL: MWoyvodich@aol.com

Eric Pryne
Staff Reporter
The Seattle Times
P.O. Box 70
Seattle, WA 98111
TEL: (206) 464-2231
FAX: (206) 464-2261
EMAIL: epryne@seattletimes.com

Ross Reynolds
Program Director/News Director
KUOW-FM
PO Box 535750
Seattle, WA 98195
Phone: (206) 543-2710
Email: rar@u.washington.edu



Long Beach Beyond 2000 -- Unity in Our Community, Long Beach, CA 1997

Partners:

Long Beach Press-Telegram
Cablevision Industries, Inc.
Long Beach Community Partnership
Leadership Long Beach

First, 25 reporters and columnists each hosted three focus group of about 10 people each. They asked open-ended questions about what issues most concerned people, what solutions they'd propose and how government and other institutions could help. From the approximately 750 people participating in the 75 focus groups, six issues emerged as chief concerns: education, safety, neighborhood quality, race, immigration and youth. The findings were used to formulate a survey of 1,400 Long Beach residents, divided into four groups: 350 Asian, 350 African-American, 350 Latino and 350 white.

An eight-part series informed by the survey and focus groups ran in November and December 1997. Cablevision produced a two-hour program on the initiative.


Contact:

Rich Archbold
Executive Editor
Long Beach Press-Telegram
PO Box 230
Long Beach, CA 90801-0230
TEL: (562) 499-1285
FAX: (310) 437-7892
EMAIL: rarchbold@sgvn.com



Dallas, TX 1997

Partners:

The Arlington Morning News
The Dallas Morning News
KERA-FM
KERA-TV
The University of Texas, Arlington

The partners seized on an initiative by the city of Arlington to increase citizen participation with "We the City," a civic approach to covering the city's move toward a deliberative model of government. The first stories, Feb. 7, 1997, explained how the media partners' civic approach would track and complement the government's efforts to engage citizens, which included the convening of neighborhood focus groups to replace the more limited public hearings before City Council. Through the spring, the partners sponsored a "civic inventory" of 900 residents, conducted by the university's School of Urban and Public Affairs, to uncover the role of informal community leaders, the importance of incidental meetings among neighbors, and the impact of absentee landlords and renters on a community. The inventory provided a baseline for assessing and comparing the quality of life in various neighborhoods. The partners did stories on issues that surfaced through the inventory and the neighborhood focus groups, including code enforcement, growth and development. Their stories also reviewed what the city's efforts had accomplished and looked at how the city could further involve citizens in their government.

The project proved to be a watershed for the Morning News, which had been in existence less than a year when the project started. The previously skeptical lead reporter attended a Pew Center training seminar when the project was launched and, as a result, spent more time in Arlington's neighborhoods, talking to residents, rather than with public officials. Her reporting stood out in the highly competitive Dallas-Fort Worth market for its richness of sources and voices. Not only did the Arlington experiment prompt more people to get involved in government, it broke down barriers with the media, as more residents began calling the paper with story ideas, attending editor's meetings and writing columns and letters.


Contact:

Marla Crockett
Asst. Dir., News & Public Affairs
KERA-FM (NPR)
3000 Harry Hines Road
Dallas, TX 75021
TEL: (214) 740-9349
FAX: (214) 740-9369
EMAIL: kerafm@metronet.com



Sanford Phase II: The Search for Solutions, Portland, ME 1997

Partners:

The Portland Newspapers
WGME-TV
Maine Public TV
Maine Public Radio

What started as an election year effort to get citizen voices in campaign coverage entered a new phase in 1997, as some 40 residents of Sanford, Maine, who’d been empaneled for the “Maine Citizens Campaign” refused to disband when the journalism project was over. The group began a second year exploring issues and meeting with public officials in hopes of taking action for positive civic change.

With Pew funds, the Portland Press Herald and Maine Sunday Telegram continued to provide facilitators and other support for the citizens group but there was much less regular coverage by both the papers and broadcast partners.

WGME produced three legacy videos on the group; one distributed to junior highs and high schools throughout Maine for use in a civic involvement curriculum, another aired on WGME and a third distributed to media around the country as a model of the citizen engagement process.

The partners teamed up again to use the citizen consultation model for covering state government with the “Beyond the Ballot” series. The partners polled 1,100 people from five different regions of Maine to determine which issues people felt were most important and how they varied from region to region.

The series began Aug. 23, 1998, with stories showing the issues of jobs, education and taxes transcended regional differences while interest in social issues such as child abuse, health care and poverty differed from region to region. Follow-up stories gave the five candidates running for governor in 1998 a chance to address the citizens’ issues.

Through the fall, separate town meetings were held in each of the five areas surveyed. Seventy-five demographically selected citizens deliberated the issues for a day and questioned gubernatorial candidates who attended the sessions. The information gathered was published in book form and distributed to key leaders throughout the state. The paper also used the book as a guide for reporting on what progress Gov. Angus King made in addressing citizen issues after his election to a second term.


Contacts:

Jeannine A. Guttman
Editor and VP
Portland Press Herald
PO Box 1460
Portland, ME 04104
TEL: (207) 791-6310
FAX: (207) 791-6931
EMAIL: jguttman@pressherald.com

Jessica Tomlinson
Online Community Organizer
MaineToday.com
50 Monument Square
Portland, ME 04101
TEL: (207) 822-4072
FAX: (207) 879-1042
EMAIL: Jessica@mainetoday.com



Maine Citizens' Campaign Documentary Video, Portland, ME 1997

Partners:

The Portland Newspapers
WGME-TV
Maine Public TV
Maine Public Radio

What started as an election year effort to get citizen voices in campaign coverage entered a new phase in 1997, as some 40 residents of Sanford, Maine, who'd been empaneled for the "Maine Citizens Campaign" refused to disband when the journalism project was over. The group began a second year exploring issues and meeting with public officials in hopes of taking action for positive civic change.

With Pew funds, the Portland Press Herald and Maine Sunday Telegram continued to provide facilitators and other support for the citizens group but there was much less regular coverage by both the papers and broadcast partners.

WGME produced three legacy videos on the group; one distributed to junior highs and high schools throughout Maine for use in a civic involvement curriculum, another aired on WGME and a third distributed to media around the country as a model of the citizen engagement process.

The partners teamed up again to use the citizen consultation model for covering state government with the "Beyond the Ballot" series. The partners polled 1,100 people from five different regions of Maine to determine which issues people felt were most important and how they varied from region to region.

The series began Aug. 23, 1998, with stories showing the issues of jobs, education and taxes transcended regional differences while interest in social issues such as child abuse, health care and poverty differed from region to region. Follow-up stories gave the five candidates running for governor in 1998 a chance to address the citizens' issues.

Through the fall, separate town meetings were held in each of the five areas surveyed. Seventy-five demographically selected citizens deliberated the issues for a day and questioned gubernatorial candidates who attended the sessions. The information gathered was published in book form and distributed to key leaders throughout the state. The paper also used the book as a guide for reporting on what progress Gov. Angus King made in addressing citizen issues after his election to a second term.


Contacts:

Gary Legters
Operations Manager
WGME-TV
1335 Washington Avenue
Portland, ME 04104
Phone: (207) 797-9330

Jim O'Rourke
Acting News Director
WGME-TV
1335 Washington Avenue
Portland, ME 04104
Phone: (207) 797-9330

Lois Czerniak
Executive Producer
WGME-TV
1335 Washington Ave
Portland, ME 04130



Civic Discourse, Tampa, FL 1997

Partners:

The Weekly Planet
Speak Up Tampa Bay
University of South Florida
Study Circles Resources Center

The partners continued their quest to bring civic journalism to the Tampa Bay with the convening of a "framing" conference in the spring of 1997. About 350 citizens attended three days of town hall meetings with experts and journalists and generated a 20-page list of the area's strengths and weaknesses.

The project suffered a setback, a short time later, when the lead partner, WTVT, dropped out after a change in leadership, leaving the alternative, entertainment-focused newspaper, Weekly Planet, scrambling to keep the momentum going. Editor Ben Eason launched a more serious alternative paper, a quarterly called Public Life, which carried news from neighborhood associations and civic groups and explored issues such as the media's responsibility to the community. Eventually, with additional Pew support in later funding cycles, Eason used the network of civic organizations he'd connected with to start an email based wire service, helping the groups connect to each other as well as get wider circulation for their concerns and events among media organizations.


Contact:

Ben Eason
President and CEO
Creative Loafing
1310 E. 9th Avenue
Tampa, FL 33605
TEL: (813) 248-8888
FAX: (813) 248-9999
EMAIL: ben.eason@creativeloafing.com



Portland, OR 1997

Partners:

The Oregonian
Oregon Public Broadcasting

That most fundamental of civic activities, voting, was the subject of a three-part series in the Oregonian and a special call-in show on public radio. Though Oregon had one of the highest voter turn-out records in the nation, there were still nearly a million eligible Oregonians who did not vote. Through a survey of 733 people and three focus groups, reporters learned that voters and non-voters had a great deal in common and that not voting was not an indication of detachment or alienation. In fact, they found 80 percent of non-voters were active in their community, with many involved in three or more civic activities.

The survey divided respondents into three groups: frequent voters, occasional voters and non-voters. Results found that non-voters tended to be younger and less well-educated than frequent voters but all groups felt cynical about elections-that they are about choosing the lesser of two evils and that voting changes very little. All groups were put off by negative campaigning.

The findings were reported on three consecutive days beginning Oct. 26, 1997. The series included the pros and cons of ideas to curb negative campaign ads, lists of opportunities for community involvement and each part invited caller comment. Oregon Public Radio aired a call-in show just before the series ran, inviting suggestions about what needs to be addressed to get people to vote.


Contact:

Sandra Mims Rowe
Editor
The Oregonian
1320 S.W. Broadway
Portland, OR 97201
TEL: (503) 221-8400
FAX: (503) 294-4175
EMAIL: srowe@news.oregonian.com



The Voters' Voice, New Hampshire 1997

Partners:

New Hampshire Public Radio
The Keene Sentinel
The Portsmouth Herald
UPI of New Hampshire

Inspired by the success of its election year project, "Voter's Voice," New Hampshire Public Radio sought citizen participation in coverage of non-election issues through a series of "Citizens Exchange" meetings in different communities, in association with local newspapers.

The network began the project in early 1997, with a series of call-in shows from its Concord studios, where citizens asked questions of the new governor, their congressmen and senators and engaged in discussions of campaign finance reform, race relations and health care issues.

NHPR then took the show on the road. The first stop was the Nashua Public Library on May 12, where about 90 citizens participated in a forum with the governor. The forum was taped and aired the next morning and again the next evening. It was also broadcast on Media One and stories ran in the Telegraph. Later forums allowed citizens to question other key elected officials about a wide range of issues.


Contact:

Mark D. Handley
President/General Manager
New Hampshire Public Radio
207 North Main Street
Concord, NH 03301-5003
TEL: (603) 226-0850
FAX: (603) 224-6052
EMAIL: mhandley@nhpr.org




Racial Change in Chicago, Chicago, IL 1997

Partners:

The Chicago Reporter
WGN-TV
WNUA-FM

The partners drew a subtle and nuanced portrait of Wrightwood, a previously white neighborhood that had become 50 percent African-American fairly quickly in the early '90's, as a case study in racial change in a community. The Reporter, a monthly paper that uses investigative techniques to cover race and poverty, led the team, conducting a statistical analysis that showed the impact of racial change on neighborhood schools and home values. Then, reporters added civic tools to their reporting - convening a meeting of 30 civic leaders and ordinary residents to get input and spending months in Wrightwood interviewing and re-interviewing dozens of residents about their concerns, problems and need, about how they get information, about where conflict exists and what is behind it.

The package of stories was published in the April 1998 edition of The Reporter. On April 15, WBEZ-FM, Chicago's public radio station, broadcast its story on the Wrightwood community as part of its "Chicago Matters" series. On May 17, WNUA-FM featured Wrightwood on its monthly Sunday morning public affairs show "City Voices."

The partners wrapped up the project with a July 1 town hall meeting in Wrightwood. About 175 people attended and gave the project high marks for increasing understanding in Wrightwood.


Contact:

Laura S. Washington (former editor and publisher)
3750 Lake Shore Dr., Apt. 8-C
Chicago, IL 60613
TEL: (773) 327-4025
EMAIL: lauraswashington@aol.com




Eyes on the Bronx, Bronx, NY 1997

Partners:

The Bronx Journal
BronxNet
Community Cable
Lehman College
The City University of New York

BronxNet community access cable TV joined forces with the unique Multilingual Journalism program at Lehman College (CUNY) to expand its coverage of this underserved New York borough that, by itself, would have been one of the 10 largest U.S. cities.

Pew funding helped the partners launch "Eyes on the Bronx," a multimedia effort to cover the Bronx's diverse communities using civic journalism. A weekly Spanish-language news magazine began airing in April 1997. The cable service also produced periodic specials, such as a 90-minute program on AIDS in the Bronx. The program, "The Changing Face of AIDS," was produced, in part, by students in the Multilingual Journalism program and was followed by a call-in program, presented on one cable channel in English and simultaneously translated into Spanish on another channel. Bilingual educators and counselors staffed special phone lines and made referrals to appropriate organizations.

The project also launched The Bronx Journal in the fall of 1997. The free tabloid was the first newspaper to cover all of the Bronx, not just a small community within the borough. Each issue featured a multilingual pull-out section presenting hard news in 10 languages including Spanish, Russian, Korean, Chinese and Japanese. The Journal continues to provide multi-lingual coverage and is used in Bronx schools.


Contacts:

Jim Carney
Executive Director
Bronxnet- Lehman College
Carman Hall Room C-4
Bronx, NY 10468-1589
TEL: (718) 960-1180
FAX: (718) 960-8354
EMAIL: jcarney@bronxnet.com

Patricio Lerzundi, Ph.D.
Director, Multi-Lingual Journalism
Lehman College
250 Bedford Park Blvd. West
Carman Hall 266
Bronx, NY 10468
TEL: (718) 960-8215
FAX: (718) 960-8218
EMAIL: lerzundi@alpha.lehman.cuny.edu


Daytona Beach, FL 1997

Partners:

The Daytona Beach News Journal
WCEU-TV (PBS)
WESH-TV (NBC)
Stetson University

At the Pew Center's request, the partners returned their funding when the project became stalled because of newsroom changes.


1996


Maine Citizens Campaign '96, Portland, ME 1996

Partners:

Portland Newspapers Inc.
Maine Public Broadcasting Network
WGME-TV (CBS)

The "Maine Citizens Campaign" followed a group of about 40 residents of Sanford, ME, a neglected mill town as they deliberated the issues and interviewed candidates in the 1996 campaign. Conceived as a way for the partners to get more citizen voices into their election coverage, the project took on a life of its own as the citizens became empowered by the process and tried to become an action group.

The partners chose to base the project in Sanford after studying past elections and demographics that suggested the town would be representative of the state. They then surveyed 300 residents and followed up with phone interviews of 70 respondents to form the core group. Members met 16 times - eight all together and eight in smaller groups - to become educated on issues and develop questions for candidates.

The partners had hoped to attract all or most of the presidential candidates to meet with the group but only Republican hopeful Senator Richard Lugar appeared. The citizens also interviewed senate and congressional candidates.

Stories about the group's meetings ran in the paper and on TV and radio from November 1995, when the group first began to meet, through the November 1996 election. The partners also used the Sanford citizens to get voter comments into routine election coverage.

When the election was over, the citizens decided to continue meeting with the goal of starting a project of their own. The paper continued to provide assistance and occasionally cover activities. WGME produced a half-hour documentary on the group's second anniversary. The group eventually dissolved but individual members went on to participate in local government.

The project led the newspaper to hire a full-time community coordinator, Jessica Tomlinson, to connect with citizens for civic journalism efforts.


Contacts:

Jeannine Guttman
Editor and Vice President
The Portland Newspapers
390 Congress St.
Portland, ME 04104
Phone: (207) 780-9000
Email: jguttman@portland.com

Jessica Tomlinson
Online Community Organizer
MaineToday.com
50 Monument Square
Portland, ME 04101
TEL: (207) 822-4072
FAX: (207) 879-1042
EMAIL: Jessica@mainetoday.com



Facing our Future, Binghamton, NY 1996

Partners:

Press & Sun-Bulletin
WSKG Public TV and Radio
WBNG-TV (CBS)
SUNY-Binghamton

With the Binghamton economy severely depressed and public spirits virtually crushed by the loss of jobs and services, the partners in 1996 launched "Facing Our Future," a solutions-oriented journalism project with a built-in action component. Two years later, citizen action teams were still meeting and the economy was rebounding. Then-Press & Sun-Bulletin editor Marty Steffens gave the media partners at least partial credit for the turn-around. "We weren't just lucky," she said.

The partners' ran three, three-part series - in January, February and March 1996 - on the economic history of the region, the impact of the downturn and ideas for revitalization, including ideas offered by citizens through clip-and-send coupons in the newspaper and a television call-in show. Then, on April 18, they sponsored a town meeting attended by an overflow crowd, where more than 200 citizens signed up to take part in one of 10 action teams for addressing the economic crisis.

The citizens met over the summer with organizational help from a community coordinator hired with Pew Center support. In September, the media partners reported an extensive list of recommendations the teams had developed for improving the region's prospects. A 500-page final report, issued in October, contained more than 100 ideas.

Many of the ideas were implemented in 1997 as the project, renamed "Building Our Future," moved into the action phase. The region's Chamber of Commerce, initially resistant to the initiative, also offered to house it. The Community Beautification and Morale Team planted a neighborhood garden and held a "National Night Out" event that won an award from the National Town Watch Association. The Consolidating Government Team worked to streamline the county 911 system. The Youth Team produced a television show for both TV partners and raised money for a teen recreation center. The local airport was improved and a local highway was taken over as an interstate.

The media partners covered developments but stepped back from active involvement in the project. The Pew Center for Civic Change provided funds for the community coordinator to continue to facilitate citizen action. A 1996 Pew Trusts study of civic journalism projects found that fully half of Binghamton area residents were aware of the project and three-quarters of those felt more positive toward the media partners as a result.


Contact:

Martha Steffens
Professor, School of Journalism
University of Missouri- Columbia
134-B Neff Annex
Columbia, MO 65211-1200
TEL: (573) 884-4839
FAX: (573) 884-1372
EMAIL: steffensm@missouri.edu



Leadership Challenge, Peoria, IL 1996

Partners:

Journal-Star
WMBD-TV (CBS), WMBD-AM
WCBU-TV (PBS), WCBU-FM (NPR)
Illinois Central College
Bradley University

Noting a decline in civic leadership and community involvement, the partners embarked on "Leadership Challenge," a project that met its ambitious goal of inspiring citizens to take leadership roles in the community.

Designed from the beginning to become a community effort, the media partners invited civic institutions to join the steering committee that framed the project. Through a series of targeted mail surveys, a random sample telephone survey of 509 Peorians and four community roundtables involving some 50 people, the partners were able to document the reasons people were becoming less involved in community activities.

They included a lack of time, a feeling of being unwelcome and a fear of being criticized. But the surveys also showed that getting involved gave people a sense of satisfaction and more people would get involved if asked by a relative, friend or employer. A series of stories laying out and exploring the findings began on Jan. 21, 1996.

The series included weekly profiles of ordinary Peoria residents who took on leadership roles. It culminated in a Nov. 18 town meeting, in which 120 people participated in a search for solutions and generated 147 ideas for reversing the trend. Some of the ideas were picked up and put into practice, as hoped, by a member of the steering committee, the director of the Center for Non-Profit Excellence at Illinois Central College (ICC). ICC received funds from the Pew Center for Civic Change to extend the work of the journalism project and trained several neighborhood activists in skills needed to lead organizations. The resulting Neighborhood College continues to train emerging leaders.

The series also inspired a local businessman to run for mayor and, when he took office, prompted him to develop a Neighborhood Development Commission that tapped new segments of the community for leadership roles.


Contacts:

Jack Brimeyer
Managing Editor
Journal Star
1 News Plaza
Peoria, IL 61643
Phone: (309) 686-3121
Email: jbrimeyer@pjstar.com

Terry Bibo-Knight
Columnist/Special Projects Director
Journal Star
1 News Plaza
Peoria, IL 61643
Phone: (309) 686-3121




Commuter Chronicles, San Francisco, CA 1996

Partners:

San Francisco Chronicle
KQED-FM (NPR)
KRON-TV (NBC)

The partners in the two-year-old "Voice of the Voter" project decided to join forces for a non-electoral effort in 1996 and took on the issue of traffic congestion in "Unlock the Gridlock." Some 1,500 people participated in five public forums held between May 1996 and April 1997, exploring the various factors in the Bay Area's choking traffic jams. The forums gave citizens the chance to question elected officials and transportation executives about the lack of coordination in mass transit and search for solutions. Citizens could also ask questions through clip-and-send coupons in the Chronicle. Coverage also included live broadcasts on KQED and stories on KRON.

All the partners produced series throughout the year on topics related to the traffic issue, such as inadequate traffic regulation and poorly planned development that put more cars on the road. The Chronicle also conducted a poll of Bay Area residents about housing and land use and how it relates to traffic.

Results included broader public input into a new Bay Bridge design and two new pieces of state legislation. One bill gave the Metropolitan Transportation Commission authority to coordinate routes and operations, bringing a measure of organization to what had been a fragmented system. The other - passed and signed into law after a series of articles about red-light running and interviews with victims of injuries - doubled the fine for going through a red light.


Contacts:

Vlae Kershner
Regional Editor
San Francisco Chronicle
901 Mission St.
San Francisco, CA 94103
Phone: (415) 777-8858
Email: vk@sfgate.com

Raul Ramirez
News Director
KQED-FM
2601 Mariposa St.
San Francisco, CA 94110-1400
Phone: (415) 553-2253
Email: raul_ramirez@qm.kqed.org

Stacy Owen
News Director
KRON-TV (NBC)
1001 Van Ness Ave.
San Francisco, CA 94109
TEL: (415) 561-8008
FAX: (415) 561-8621
EMAIL: owen@kron.com

Daniel Rosenheim
News Director
KPIX-TV
855 Battery Street
San Francisco, CA 94111-1597
TEL: (415) 765-8618
FAX: (415) 765-8844
EMAIL: rosenheim@kpix.cbs.com



Keep Us Safe: Teens Talk about Violence, Rochester, NY 1996

Partners:

Rochester Democrat andChronicle
WXXI Public Television
WOKR-TV (ABC)

The partners focused on young people - their experiences, their views, their voices - for "Make Us Safe: Teens Talk about Violence." First, they surveyed nearly 1,800 seventh through 12th graders in the Rochester area. They found that one-third thought their life would be shortened by violence, 18.5 percent carried a weapon for fear of violent crime and a significant number wanted their parents to set more limits. Then the partners gathered small groups of teenagers for focus group discussions.

All the media partners launched coverage on Sept. 21, 1996, the one-year anniversary of the fatal stabbing of a 13-year-old girl by a 12-year-old girl outside of their school. A week of newspaper stories chronicling the problem of youth violence included contributions from 100 students who'd been given single-use cameras to document their day. The television and radio partners broadcast teen essays on violence.

The second week of coverage focused on solutions. A two-hour roundtable discussion broadcast live on WXXI and covered by the other partners generated citizen ideas for combating youth violence. The paper printed a coupon with a "Teens Pledge of Peace," asking youth not just to sign the pledge but to offer more suggestions for curbing violence. The project shared the 1997 Batten Award.


Contacts:

Blair Claflin (former public affairs editor, D&C)
Legislative Editor
The Des Moines Register
715 Locust St.
Des Moines, IA 50304
Phone: (515) 284-8052

Gary Walker
VP of Television
WXXI-TV
280 State St - PO Box 30021
Rochester, NY 14603-3021
TEL: (585) 258-0241
FAX: (585) 258-0384
EMAIL: gwalker@wxxi.org

Elissa Marra
Director of National Productions
WXXI-TV
280 State Street
Rochester, NY 14614
TEL: (716) 258-0349
FAX: (716) 258-0384
EMAIL: emarra@wxxi.org<



Daily Civic Journalism Initiative, Charlotte, NC 1996

Partners:

The Charlotte Observer
WSOC-TV (ABC)
WPEG-AM
WBTV (CBS)

After the success of their major crime project, "Taking Back our Neighborhoods," the media partners spent a year trying to incorporate the civic journalism principles they had learned into daily reporting. Applying such tools as polling, public forums, listening posts and community partnerships on a quick-turn-around time frame, the partners found ways to improve coverage of breaking news.

For example, on March 24, 1996, the paper and WBTV published the results of a super-quick, random-sample pool - conceived on Thursday and published on Sunday - about nudity in the play "Angels in America." A touring production of the play stirred debate when a group of citizens demanded that an actor who appeared nude on stage be arrested for indecency. The poll found most people supported the director's right to include the scene and the controversy diminished.

A month later, the paper joined with WPEG to cover a dispute between local residents and young drivers who cruised in a neighborhood park. The paper covered a flare-up on Friday, April 26, with a package of explanatory stories and people suggesting solutions. The following Sunday, it co-sponsored a 90-minute broadcast forum at the radio station that included WPEG reporters taking questions from cruisers in the park.

One of the most successful experiments in civic coverage of breaking news was the partners' reporting on a new state law requiring schools to increase parent participation. In addition to the straight reporting, the paper published a graphic that listed the kinds of things volunteers could do even if they were available for short periods or only at night and a phone number to call to sign up. More than 300 people called a special phone bank, manned by local school districts, to volunteer.


Contacts:

Jennie Buckner
Editor and Vice President
The Charlotte Observer
600 S. Tryon St.
Charlotte, NC 28202
Phone: (704) 358-5001

Chuck Clark (Former government editor, The Observer)
City Editor
Orlando Sentinel
633 N. Orange Avenue
Orlando, FL 32801
TEL: (407) 420-5468
EMAIL: cclark@orlandosentinel.com

Fannie Flono
Associate Editor
The Charlotte Observer
P.O. Box 32188
Charlotte, NC 28202
TEL: (704) 358-5079
FAX: (704) 358-6166
EMAIL: flono@charlotteobserver.com



We the People/Wisconsin, Madison, WI 1996

Partners:

Wisconsin StateJournal
Wisconsin Public TV
Wisconsin Public Radio
WISC-TV (CBS)
Wood Communication Group

In the spring, a forum allowed citizens to question candidates for the Wisconsin Supreme Court in "You Be the Judge," broadcast from the high court's chambers. Citizens got the chance to assess the performance, structure and financing of the state's public university system and recommend a course for its future in "The Future of the UW System." Town hall meetings were held on campuses statewide and citizen recommendations were given to the UW regents.

In "Campaign for Control," citizens from across Wisconsin descended on Madison to "take over" the state Senate chambers for a live, one-hour forum that allowed them to question legislators. "Talk of the House" gave citizens an unprecedented opportunity to add their voices to congressional campaigns. About 300 citizens in three sites were linked with the Republican and Democratic candidates for three hotly contested U.S. House seats. The forum, broadcast on five commercial and public television stations and statewide public radio, was viewed by more than 100,000 households statewide.

The State Journal and WISC_TV also started their "Schools of Hope" series, which has been credited with helping to improve Madison schools and won a Batten legacy award in 2002.


Contacts:

Deborah Still
Project Director
We The People/ Wisconsin
PO Box 5534
Madison, WI 53705
Phone: (608) 833-8545

Thomas W. Still
President
Wisconsin Technology Council
PO Box 71, 615 E. Washington Ave.
Madison, WI 53701-0071
TEL: (608) 442-7557
FAX: (608) 256-0333
EMAIL: tstill@wisctec.com

Tom Bier
General Manager
WISC-TV
7025 Raymond Rd.
Madison, WI 53719
TEL: (608) 271-5171
FAX: (608) 271-0800
EMAIL: tbier@wisctv.com

David Iverson
Executive Director
Best Practices in Journalism
2601 Mariposa St.
San Francisco, CA 94110
TEL: (415) 553-2489
EMAIL: iverson@wpt.org

James B. Wood
President
Wood Communications Group
700 Regent St.
Madison, WI 53715-1233
Phone: (608) 259-0757



Soapbox: A Guide to Civic Journalism at The Spokesman-Review, Spokane, WA 1996

Partners:

Spokesman-Review

One of the early innovators in developing and using civic journalism tools, the Spokesman-Review embarked on a project to foster their growth in other newsrooms. With Pew support, the paper hired an intern specifically to advance civic journalism outreach. During her year in Spokane, the intern worked with community groups, helped organize a forum to make the paper more accessible to citizens, helped edit contributors to the paper's reader-written opinion pages and wrote opinion pieces herself.

A major focus of the internship was the production of a civic journalism handbook, "Soapbox," which explained the paper's decision to try civic journalism, the techniques it employed and the results it got. The handbook included a message from then-Editor Chris Peck about a credibility study by the American Society of Newspaper Editors and examples of the way the paper tried to form closer connections to its community, such as remaking the editorial page to include citizen voices and exploring public issues through informal "pizza party" discussions among small groups of ordinary people.

The paper distributed the book to other newsrooms with a letter from Peck about what a positive change civic journalism had brought to the Spokesman-Review.


Contacts:

Chris Peck (Former Spokesman-Review editor)
Editor
The Commercial Appeal
P.O. Box 364
Memphis, TN 38101
TEL: (901) 529-2390
EMAIL: peck@gomemphis.com

Rebecca Nappi
Interactive Editor
The Spokesman-Review
999 W. Riverside Ave.
Spokane, WA 99201
Phone: (509) 459-5496



Men as Peacemakers, Duluth, MN 1996

Partners:

Duluth (MN) News Tribune
WDSE-TV public television
Violence Free Duluth organization

The project "Men as Peacemakers" reversed the normal tendency to let men stay on the sidelines while women lead efforts to end violence and attracted the efforts of hundreds of Duluth men.

A community organization approached the media partners after a series of particularly gruesome incidents in Duluth, asking for help in promoting violence- prevention strategies. Initially, the partners agreed to finance a retreat, where about 50 men planned strategies for curbing violence. Impressed with the results, the partners launched a civic journalism project to explore the issue more fully.

In March 1996, the News-Tribune began seven-month series of stories on ways people are affected by violence, how they learn to be violent through sports, the media and in the home, and how prejudice, drugs and peer pressure influence violence. The paper also printed and distributed a resource guide showing men what services are needed and exactly how to volunteer.

WDSE featured segments on its public affairs show and produced a documentary and a 90-minute televised town forum, Oct. 8, 1996. The documentary was distributed to libraries and edited for use in classrooms, along with a teacher's guide created for the project.

The "Men as Peacemakers" group grew from the original 50 to more than 200 and sponsored a "week without violence" that included a community fair, showcasing the news coverage and showing people how they could get involved.


Contact:

Craig Gemoules
Deputy Managing Editor
Tampa Tribune
202 S. Parker Street
Tampa, FL 33601
TEL: (813) 259-7600
FAX: (813) 259-7676
EMAIL: cgemoules@tampatrib.com



Common Ground, San Jose, CA 1996

Partners:

San Jose Mercury News
KNTV (ABC)
KPIX-TV (CBS)
KIVE and KARA Radio
Santa Clara Public Libraries

"Common Ground" was an editorial page project designed to encourage public discussion on controversial topics and create public spaces where those discussions could occur. On its editorial and commentary pages, the Mercury News editorial board would publish lists of suggested reading on topics such as affirmative action or changing the state constitution. Library officials recommended the books and magazines and ensured the lists were broad-based and not slanted toward a particular view.

Then, the paper invited readers to attend a small group discussion of the topic at a local library and distributed discussion guides that used the National Issues Forum model of choice exercises.

In 1996, more than 300 people participated in a dozen discussion groups on public education, culminating in a one-hour "Education Town Hall," televised live on Aug. 15, 1996 by KPIX. About 300 people attended the town hall and another 300,000 people watched on TV. Phone lines were manned by library employees and more than 100 people called seeking more information.


Contacts:

Rob Elder
Former Editorial Page Editor
Email: ElderRob@aol.com



The Public Agenda, Tallahassee, FL 1996

Partners:

Tallahassee Democrat
WCTV6 (CBS)
Florida State University
Florida A&M Universities

The third year of the "Public Agenda" project ended with a hand-off to the community. Over its three-year span, the project involved more than 1,000 people in 15 discussion groups. A final poll of 353 adults in the Tallahassee area showed the project appeared to have contributed to positive changes in community attitudes and behavior. The poll found that about one third of area residents had heard of the project. Participation in some aspect of the project - whether joining a discussion group or attending a public meeting - registered at seven percent but that represented a doubling over the three years of the project, from three percent in 1995.

More than half the respondents said the project was effective in getting people to discuss community concerns, making people feel they have a voice and identifying solutions for community problems. Respondents in 1997 were more likely than respondents in 1994 and 1995 to see the community pulling together and less likely to be at odds. They were more willing to listen and work toward compromise and strongly agreed that people could make a difference by taking an active role on important issues in their community. For more details, see Year One projects, 1994.


Contacts:

Mimi Jones
Project Manager
The Public Agenda
1713 Silverwood Dr.
Tallahassee, FL 32301
Phone: (850) 942-7199

Michael W. Smith
News Director
WCTV-TV (CBS)
4000 County Rd. 12
Tallahassee, FL 32312
TEL: (850) 893-6666
FAX: (850) 668-3851
EMAIL: mike.smith@wctv6.com



Front Porch Forum, Seattle, WA 1996

Partners:

The Seattle Times
KUOW-FM Radio
KCTS Public TV
KPLU-FM, Tacoma, WA

The "Front Porch Forum" partners solidified their initiative in their third year, hiring a project coordinator and engaging more than 2,000 citizens in forums, focus groups and polling. The project focused on the gubernatorial and congressional elections. An initial poll of 570 Washington residents, conducted in April, provided the baseline for a series of features by all the partners on election issues such as job security, morals and values, money and politics and the welfare of children. To plumb the results in greater depth, the partners convened three focus groups involving a total of 33 citizens, and used the information gathered to develop a second poll of 400 residents statewide in early October. The surveys alerted the partners early on to the issues of the 1996 campaign, particularly citizen concerns about morality and family issues, so they were able to make sure candidates addressed them.

In the two most tightly contested congressional districts, the partners used voters in bellwether communities in covering the races. In each one, a group of 16 citizens representing a broad mix of ages, incomes and political leanings was recruited randomly to meet three times before the election, including a face-to-face meeting with the candidates.

In the gubernatorial race, the partners collaborated with the League of Women Voters to host two forums - one for Democratic candidates and one for Republicans. More than 400 citizens attended the Democrat's forum and 250 participated in the Republican forum. In each, a panel of five citizens questioned the candidates for the first half and audience members asked questions during the second half. The forums were broadcast live in prime time by KCTS and attracted twice the usual viewership for the time slot.

After the November election, the partners sponsored a final public forum, "Our Schools, Our Kids," broadcast live in December following the Times' special section rating Seattle area high schools.


Contacts:

David Boardman
Managing Editor
The Seattle Times Co.
PO Box 70
Seattle, WA 98111
TEL: (206) 464-2160
FAX: (206) 464-2261
EMAIL: dboardman@seattletimes.com

Marion Woyvodich
1138 North 82nd Street
Seattle, WA 98103-4405
TEL: (206) 522-5754
FAX: (206) 528-5528
EMAIL: MWoyvodich@aol.com

Ross Reynolds
Radio Host
KUOW
P.O. Box 535750
Seattle, WA 98195
TEL: (206) 543-2710
FAX: (206) 543-2720
EMAIL: rar@u.washington.edu



Voices of the People, Cincinnati, OH 1995

Partners:

WKRC-TV (CBS)
The Community Press Chain of Suburban Weeklies
Q102 and WNNK Radio

An unusual partnership, with TV taking the lead and enlisting suburban weeklies rather than one large daily, "Voices of the People" sought, according to its mission statement, "to empower citizens by making sure their voices are heard and by showing their involvement does make a difference."

Short on resources when it first kicked off in May 1995, the partners simply had staffers each call 10 people from the telephone directory and discuss their needs and issues that affected their lives. Pew support allowed the partners to hire a community coordinator to organize projects under the "Voices of the People" umbrella.

One of the first issues the partners tackled was public funding of sports stadiums, the subject of a special referendum on March 19, 1996. In the weeks leading up to the referendum, Community Press newspapers invited readers to send in their questions about the issue and answered the questions in weekly columns. Similarly, WKRC answered two to three viewers' questions on its nightly newscast and Sunday morning public affairs show, culminating in a March 15 televised special in which citizens questioned a panel of experts on the pros and cons of stadium funding. Turn-out on the referendum was a record-breaking 49 percent of registered voters - more than double the turn-out for the 1992 elections.

In July, WKRC traveled to four communities - one each week for an exercise in public listening. Reporters spent the first three days of the week in the community simply talking to citizens. Thursday featured a live broadcast from the town, followed by a town meeting on local issues. The partners also convened six town hall meetings with voters questioning congressional candidates running in the November election.


Contacts:

Steve Minium (Former VP News, WKRC-TV)
Vice President of News
Clear Channel Television
1906 Highland Ave.
Cincinnati, OH 45219-3161
TEL: (513) 763-5425
FAX: (513) 421-2873
EMAIL: minium@wkrc.com

Tom Noonan
Community Press Newspapers
5552 Cheviot Rd.
Cincinnati, OH 45247
Phone: (513) 248-8600



The Sun News Asks You, Myrtle Beach, SC 1996

Partners:

The Sun News

The partners proposed a project on race relations but found during the planning phase that racial division was just one of the problems facing the community as a result of extremely rapid growth. Broadening the focus of the project to "reconnecting," the paper decided to seek reader input in determining what issues the community cared about most. In late summer of 1996, the paper distributed 3,000 neon yellow postcards, asking six open-ended questions, such as: What would you change about your community? What is going well in your community? What really makes you mad right now?

One of the things that people said made them mad were the town's tack beachwear stores.

Similar questionnaires were printed on clip-and-send coupons in the paper. More than 300 residents responded, zeroing in on five key areas of concern: traffic, growth and development, elected officials, schools and the culture of the area. The informal survey led the paper to launch its 1997 project, "Living in a Boom Town," which also received Pew support.


Contact:

Susan C. Deans (Former Sun News editor)
Asst Managing Editor/Weekends
Denver Rocky Mountain News
400 West Colfax Avenue
Denver, CO 80204
TEL: (303) 892-2386
FAX: (303) 892-2841
EMAIL: deanss@denver-rmn.com

John X. Miller (Former Sun News Managing Editor)
Public Editor
Detroit Free Press
600 West Fort Street
Detroit, MI 48226-3138
TEL: (313) 222-6803
EMAIL: miller@freepress.com



Norfolk, VA 1996

Partners:

The Virginian-Pilot
The Harwood Group

For the 1996 elections, the paper completely re-imagined and refashioned campaign coverage, moving from traditional horse race coverage to the innovative (and, later, much-copied) concept of candidate as job applicant. Pew helped fund a new kind of poll that aided this coverage. Rather than a market-driven poll, the Harwood Group conducted a deliberative poll of 672 adults for the paper, one that offered a range of choices and asked respondents the "why" behind their answers. It revealed that voters were as concerned about leadership and character as about candidates' stands on issues.

The paper did little direct reporting on the poll but used the results to frame its coverage. The theme of coverage became "What's got to be done and who's up to doing it?" Candidates were given unprecedented opportunity to speak directly to voters through a "job application," where they described in their own words how they saw the office they were seeking and their qualifications for holding it, and through answers to questions on the issues voters found most important. Virginian-Pilot reporters profiled candidates and reported spot news but framed it within the theme of the campaign as job interview.

The paper explored the issues uncovered in the poll - leadership, economic life, crime, education - both through news stories and through grids that showed candidates' responses to questions surrounding the issues. Innovative graphics were used to make coverage more useful and easier to digest. The paper reported that voters frequently expressed appreciation for the new approach.


Contacts:

Dennis Hartig (Former Managing Editor)
Editorial Page Editor
The Virginian-Pilot
150 W Brambleton Avenue
Norfolk, VA 23510
TEL: (757) 446-2126
FAX: (757) 446-2414
EMAIL: hart@pilotonline.com

Tom Warhover (Former Deputy Managing Editor)
Executive Editor
The Columbia Missourian
PO Box 917
Columbia, MO 65205
TEL: (573) 882-5700
FAX: (573) 882-5702
EMAIL: warhovert@missouri.edu



Tampa, FL 1996

Partners:

WTVT-TV (Fox)
Weekly Planet Alternative Paper
WMNF Community Radio
Tampa Chapter of National Conference

The partners sought to bring civic journalism to the Tampa Bay area through a series of four jointly sponsored town hall forums and the encouragement of smaller "kitchen table" discussions in citizens' homes. The forums were aided by "Speak Up, Tampa Bay," a group of citizens brought together as an advisory board on civic journalism to WTVT and the Weekly Planet. The group evolved into an independent body focused on engaging citizens in deliberative dialogue by hosting forums and small group discussions on Bay area issues and on connecting the media with citizens and their issues.

In addition to the forums, the partners inaugurated the Good Community Alliance, bringing together a group of civic organizations and social service agencies to share resources and work on joint projects. The Alliance included the partners and other media organizations and sought to improve coverage of activities and events that were the basis for much of the community's civic life.


Contacts:

Ben Eason
President and CEO
Creative Loafing
1310 E. 9th Avenue
Tampa, FL 33605
TEL: (813) 248-8888
FAX: (813) 248-9999
EMAIL: ben.eason@creativeloafing.com



Across Generations: What We Owe Each Other, St. Paul, MN 1996

Partners:

St. Paul Pioneer Press
KARE-TV (NBC)
Wilder Research Center

Following up on the success of its "Safer Cities" project, the paper focused on intergenerational conflict with the eight-week, 14-part series "Across Generations: What Do We Owe Each Other?" First, a poll of 1,528 adults in the Twin Cities area showed some of the differences between people of different generations - young people, for example, were less likely to have a religious preference. Then a team of reporters explored the topic through "immersion reporting" - spending long periods of time with interview subjects in places such as nursing homes or day-care centers to create more trust and avoid superficial, sound-bite quotes.

The paper also invited readers to share their stories of intergenerational connections, generating more than 200 responses. A class of eighth graders was given cameras to document a special relationship with an older person. These elements were included in the package, which began running Nov. 10, 1996. The package also included suggestions for closing generational gaps - such as adopting a grandparent or creating a family history book or video - and a clip-and-send coupon for readers to pledge to take action to create connections between generations.

The paper sponsored a four-hour intergenerational dialogue at the Mall of America, attracting some 70 people of all ages. It also distributed more than 2,000 "tool kits" with tips and suggestions for connecting with different generations.


Contacts:

Walker Lundy
Editor
St. Paul Pioneer Press
345 Cedar St.
St. Paul, MN 55101-1057
Phone: (612) 228-5480
Email:lundy@pioneerplanet.infi.net

Brett Benson, Project Leader
St. Paul Pioneer Press
345 Cedar St.
St. Paul, MN 55101-1057
Phone: (612) 228-5438

Kay Harvey
St. Paul Pioneer Press
345 Cedar St.
St. Paul, MN 55101-1057
Phone: (612) 228-8468

Kate Parry
St. Paul Pioneer Press
345 Cedar St.
St. Paul, MN 55101-1057
Phone: (612) 228-5400



1995


Safer Cities, St. Paul, MN 1995

Partners:

St. Paul Pioneer Press
KARE-TV (NBC)
Wilder Research Center

Breaking out of the daily police blotter routine, the paper commissioned a poll of 2,853 Twin City residents that explored public attitudes toward crime and safety and assigned a team of four reporters to look at crime in the context of race, age, gender and geography. They also explored the media's role in public perceptions of crime.

The 10-part series began in the Pioneer Press on Sept. 24, 1995 and ran Sundays through Nov. 26. With interactive features, such as a risk quiz and a neighborhood audit, the series guided readers through a psychological evaluation of their own fears, a reality check about the dangers in their lives, the best ideas from around the country for fighting crime and a look at the most promising local efforts, including a map of resources and lists of safety tips. The paper also sponsored two public forums - each with about 40 people - on crime issues and reported the results.

KARE aired six stories about the poll results. Reader reaction was overwhelmingly positive and the series won the top prize from the Minnesota Associated Press and the University of Minnesota Journalism School. The series had a long-term impact on the paper, too. Editors revamped crime coverage, instituting a public safety column, and reorganized the newsroom into teams and clusters.

The paper also applied and refined the "Safer Cities" model in later projects, including "Across Generations," about tensions among different age groups, "Poverty Among Us," about combating post-welfare reform poverty, and "The New Face of Minnesota," about immigration. Together, these projects won a Legacy Award in the Pew Center's 2002 Batten Awards competition.


Contacts:

Walker Lundy (Former Pioneer Press editor)
Editor & Executive Vice President
The Philadelphia Inquirer
400 North Broad Street
Philadelphia, PA 19101-8263
TEL: (215) 854-4594
FAX: (215) 854-5099
EMAIL: wlundy@phillynews.com

Kathryn Parry
Sr. Editor, Politics & Special Projects
St. Paul Pioneer Press
345 Cedar Street
St. Paul, MN 55105-1057
TEL: (651) 228-5522
FAX: (651) 228-5500
EMAIL: kparry@pioneerpress.com

Kay Harvey
Aging and Family Issues, Express
St. Paul Pioneer Press
345 Cedar Street
St. Paul, MN 55101-1057
TEL: (651) 228-5468
EMAIL: kharvey@pioneerpress.com



A Community Conversation, Grand Forks, ND 1995

Partners:

Grand Forks Herald
WDAZ-TV (ABC)
Northern LightsPublic Radio

The partners held a series of "Community Conversations" via coffee klatches, focus groups and polls, assessing quality-of-life issues and forging a vision for the future of Grand Forks, a city of 60,000. The partners kicked the project off by driving a van to various public places around the city for a month. They interviewed some 120 people in coffee shops, bowling alleys, shopping malls and a U.S. Air Force base. They used comments from these conversations to devise a poll of 400 residents. The surprise consensus, reported by the partners on June 2, 1995, was that people believed Grand Forks officials could make the city a better place by fixing the streets.

Through the summer and fall, the partners held and reported on a series of focus groups, during which four issues emerged as key to the town's future: crime, jobs, family activities and, of course, better streets. The finale of the project was a public hearing and citywide block party at which citizens discussed the city's future and generated possible solutions for the city to study.

The paper felt the community impact was so positive, it returned to the community conversation model in 1998, involving some 1,500 people in conversations about how to revive community spirit after a devastating flood wiped out parts of the city and left residents divided about how to rebuild.


Contacts:

Mike Jacobs
Editor
Grand Forks Herald
120 N. 4th St.
Grand Forks, ND 58206
Phone: (701) 780-1103
Email: gfherald@grandforks.polaristel.net



Your Voices Count, San Jose, CA 1995

Partners:

San Jose Mercury News
KNTV (ABC)
KPIX-TV (CBS)
KIVE and KARA Radio
Santa Clara Public Libraries

Solid investigative journalism documented the problem of special-interest money corrupting the California State Assembly,but the Mercury News turned to civic journalism to ensure that its investigation had impact. At the end of its hard-hitting "Legislature for Sale" project, the paper asked citizens to volunteer to learn more about and become involved in, the legislative process. Some 200 people responded, and about 75 stayed with the project through the 1995 legislative session.

"Your Voices Count" kicked off June 18 with a front-page story in the Mercury News and a three-part series on KNTV. The paper then held a seminar where experts taught the volunteers the basics of the legislative process and sent the group to Sacramento to observe the process first hand.

The group broke into four teams: accountability, civic involvement, structural reform and campaign finance. They created a "Legislative Statement of Accountability," which they asked all legislators and candidates to sign, and a Web site to help citizens research legislation. Members sponsored a televised Citizens Inquiry Panel and produced a town hall meeting with eight legislators answering questions from an audience of more than 500 people.

The project was not without controversy. Some traditional journalists accused the paper of crossing the line of detached observer in reporting on the activities of a citizen activist group that it had created. Mercury News editors responded that part of the paper's role was in helping citizens become more active civic participants. The citizens group continued work after the project ended.


Contacts:

Kim Alexander
Executive Director
California Voter Foundation
2401 L Street, 2nd floor
Sacramento, CA 95816
Phone: (916) 325-2120
Email:kimalex@netcom.com

Jerry Ceppos
Executive Editor
San Jose Mercury News
750 Ridder Park Dr.
San Jose, CA 95190
Phone: (408) 920-5456

Jonathan Krim (Former Mercury News Project Editor)
Business Reporter
The Washington Post
1150 15th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20071



Grading Our Schools, Rochester, NY 1995

Partners:

Rochester Democrat andChronicle
WXXI Public Television
WOKR-TV (ABC)

Eight years after a highly touted school reform effort began, Rochester area residents still had concerns about education. "Grading our Schools" got hundreds of them participating - through polls, televised town meetings, focus groups and chat rooms - in appraising and redirecting the effort. The project also laid the groundwork for several subsequent civic journalism projects on education, violence and youth issues.

The partners surveyed 768 city and suburban residents about local schools and held two focus groups with poll respondents to discuss the results in more depth. The findings - that school reform efforts got a low C; that teachers were doing a good job but parents needed to do more; that students seemed to be graduating without the skills they needed - were published May 13, 1995, kicking off a series that would include 70 newspaper stories, five TV shows and four radio broadcasts.

Broadcast town meetings were held May 14 and 16, at two locations, where the partners also held mini-information fairs and signed up volunteers. About 200 people attended the meetings, more than a thousand responded by telephone to flash poll questions during the broadcasts and some 60 people took part in AOL chat rooms set up for the event.

As discussions continued, the partners followed up with "Upgrading our Schools," seeking more student input. Public officials praised the project for promoting metropolitan solutions to regional problems and helping resolve a longstanding debate over the distribution of tax revenues.


Contacts:

Blair Claflin (former public affairs editor, D&C)
Legislative Editor
The Des Moines Register
715 Locust St.
Des Moines, IA 50304
Phone: (515) 284-8052

Gary Walker
VP of Television
WXXI-TV
280 State St - PO Box 30021
Rochester, NY 14603-3021
TEL: (585) 258-0241
FAX: (585) 258-0384
EMAIL: gwalker@wxxi.org

Elissa Marra
Director of National Productions
WXXI-TV
280 State Street
Rochester, NY 14614
TEL: (716) 258-0349
FAX: (716) 258-0384
EMAIL: emarra@wxxi.org



In a Big Jam, Hackensack, NJ 1995

Partners:

The Record
TCI, Northern New Jersey
Caucus Educational Corp.

"The Quality of Life Project" comprised a number of ambitious efforts to stimulate informed public dialogue about how to preserve Bergen County's best qualities in an era of increasing congestion, rising crime and a changing economy.

The first step was to find the consensus on what qualities should be preserved. The paper polled 600 area residents and more than 200 county leaders about the region's strengths, weaknesses, challenges and opportunities. It also asked readers to respond to the same questions through a coupon in the paper and received more than 1,200 responses. Then it brought in task forces of residents and public officials for roundtable, brainstorming sessions.

Among the most critical findings: traffic congestion was the number-one concern, outranking crime and taxes on the list of reasons not to live in Northern Jersey. Education was also a top concern. The poll also found a pervasive sense of powerlessness among residents - almost half said they didn't have much say about what happens in Bergen County.

Each of these findings was tackled over the course of the two-year project. In 1995, the paper examined local schools. Among the stories was a seven-part series on the achievement gap in Teaneck, NJ, which was informed by a poll and a town forum attended by 400 residents.

The paper also joined forces with TCI cable and WJUX to hold televised countywide call-in town meetings so that citizens could ask questions directly of elected officials. The 90-minute show, "Local Live," received more than 70 calls when it debuted in April, demonstrating residents' desire to connect with local government and feel they were being heard.

Throughout 1996, The Record produced "In a Big Jam," a series of special sections examining the causes and solutions to severe regional transportation problems. As part of the reporting, the paper convened a transportation task force of citizens and transportation and planning officials to develop strategies for uncovering solutions.

When the series began running, Feb. 18, 1996, the Record asked readers to offer solutions. The paper chose 25 of the responses and published them, along with an analysis by transit experts of each suggestion. The partners gave citizens a chance to talk to transit officials directly on an edition of "Local Live." After the series concluded in November, a local Chamber of Commerce asked the paper to co-sponsor two brainstorming conferences on the topic, which attracted 200 people.


Contacts:

Glenn Ritt (Former editor, The Record)
Publisher
Cape Codder
P.O. Box 39
Orleans, MA 02653
TEL: (508) 247-3260
FAX: (508) 247-3201
EMAIL: GRitt@exchange.communitynews.com



The Public Agenda, Tallahassee, FL 1995

Partners:

Tallahassee Democrat
WCTV6 (CBS)
Florida State University
Florida A&M Universities

The second year of the three-year "Public Agenda" project trained more citizens to lead and participate in small group discussions and continued polling to be sure the concerns of all members of the diverse community were surfacing. For more details, please see Year One (1994) project descriptions.


Contacts:

Mimi Jones
Project Manager
The Public Agenda
1713 Silverwood Dr.
Tallahassee, FL32301
Phone: (850) 942-7199

Michael W. Smith
News Director
WCTV-TV (CBS)
4000 County Rd. 12
Tallahassee, FL 32312
TEL: (850) 893-6666
FAX: (850) 668-3851
EMAIL: mike.smith@wctv6.com



Manhattan, KS 1995

Partners:

The Manhattan Mercury
KQLA-FM

The partners in "The Public Mind" project took a civic approach to exploring one local issue a month in depth and inviting citizens to discuss possible solutions. The series began, May 7, 1995, with an exploration of teenage binge drinking. In June, the topic was neighborhood associations; July, the student rental housing market and in September, a look at child care.

In the first week of the month, the Mercury devoted a page to a status report on the issue; in the second week it gave experts' perspectives; the third week it published case studies of individuals affected by the issue and the fourth week it invited the public to address the issue in a community forum, usually attended by six to 10 people. Follow-up stories explored solutions that were suggested.


Contacts:

Bill Felber
Executive Editor
The Manhattan Mercury
318 N. Fifth Street
Manhattan, KS 66502
Phone: (913) 776-2300
Email: manmerc@konza.flinthills.com



Front Porch Forum, Seattle, WA 1995

Partners:

The Seattle Times
KUOW-FM Radio
KCTS Public TV
KPLU-FM, Tacoma, WA

Energized by their work together for the 1994 NPR election project, the partners used their newly formed "Front Porch Forum" alliance to tackle a number of issues facing the Seattle area. They held a joint forum on a new, multi-million dollar transit system and held focus groups to explore two other local tax measures.

By the end of the year, "Front Porch Forum" added a television partner (KCTS) to extend its reach and, with additional funding in 1996, hired a full-time coordinator, Marion Woyvodich, to organize polls, focus groups, town halls, forums and other events to get public input for this unique exploration of public issues.


Contacts:

David Boardman
Managing Editor
The Seattle Times Co.
PO Box 70
Seattle, WA 98111
TEL: (206) 464-2160
FAX: (206) 464-2261
EMAIL: dboardman@seattletimes.com

Marion Woyvodich
1138 North 82nd Street
Seattle, WA 98103-4405
TEL: (206) 522-5754
FAX: (206) 528-5528
EMAIL: MWoyvodich@aol.com

Ross Reynolds
Radio Host
KUOW
P.O. Box 535750
Seattle, WA 98195
TEL: (206) 543-2710
FAX: (206) 543-2720
EMAIL: rar@u.washington.edu



Children First, Detroit, MI 1995

Partners:

Detroit Free Press
WXYZ-TV (ABC)

Children and violence was the focus of a joint project that grew out of the paper's "Children First" editorial and community campaign. The effort began with a poll of 1,600 children, aged 9 to 12, in the Detroit area. Nearly one in five said they had witnessed a shooting; almost half knew someone, other than a police officer, who carried a gun. More than 40 percent of children living in the urban core said they worried about being the victim of a crime.

The Free Press published the poll results, May 24, 1995, along with a special section profiling five local children. WXYT aired an hour-long special about fears and stress in the lives of four young people.

Over the summer, the partners sponsored focus groups with high school students about critical life choices they faced. Four issues emerged as most critical: personal safety, drugs and substance abuse, education and sexuality. The paper dealt with each issues over two days of coverage in October. WXYT broadcast a one-hour program weaving these four areas together.


Contacts:

Jack Kresnak
Staff Writer, Children First
321 W. Lafayette Blvd.
Detroit, MI 48226
Detroit Free Press
TEL: (313) 223-4544
FAX: (313) 222-6627
www.freep.com

Sandra McFee
Producer
WXYZ-TV Fix station
20777 West 10 Mile Run Road
Southfield, MI 48037-0789
TEL: (313) 827-7777
FAX: (313) 827-4454



Shaping the Next Century, Dayton, OH 1995

Partners:

Dayton Daily News
WPTD public television
WYSO-FM
The Miami Valley Issues Forum
TheMontgomery County Historical Museum

Marking Dayton's 1996 bicentennial, the partners launched "Shaping the Next Century" to encourage public conversations about directing the city into the future. The Daily News ran a series of stories in late 1995 that looked at Dayton's history as well as challenges yet to be met. In January 1996, public television station WPTD and WYSO simulcast a 90-minute documentary and live panel discussion, inviting the public to phone-in questions and comments about where Dayton should be headed.

Though an exact count was not made, the stations received more calls than they could accommodate and panelists promised to return to answer questions. Also in January, the partners held a non-broadcast community issues forum on the city's future.


Contacts:

Sandee Harden
Director of Broadcasting
Greater Dayton Public Television
110 S. Jefferson St.
Dayton, OH 45402
Phone: (513) 220-1600

Martha Steffens (Former project leader)
Professor, School of Journalism
University of Missouri- Columbia
134-B Neff Annex
Columbia, MO 65211-1200
TEL: (573) 884-4839
FAX: (573) 884-1372
EMAIL: steffensm@missouri.edu


1994


Taking Back our Neighborhoods/Carolina Crime Solutions Charlotte, NC 1994

Partners:

The Charlotte Observer
WSOC-TV (ABC)
WPEG-AM
WBTV (CBS)

Pew funds supported the hiring of a community coordinator, Charlene Price-Patterson, who was instrumental in organizing town meetings and focus groups and coordinating reader response.

Reporting started with a computer-assisted analysis of two years of crime statistics that helped the partners select which neighborhoods to focus on. They then polled 400 neighb orhood residents about what they believed to be the root causes of the crime rate. The partners also asked residents of each neighborhood to join an advisory panel that would help frame coverage and define what they saw as the causes and solutions.

Meanwhile, reporters hit the streets to do ground-level reporting on the crime situation in each neighborhood and to produce parallel reports about what worked in neighborhoods where crime was dropping. When the stories ran, the paper included boxes of very specific actions readers could take to help, including a "needs list" drawn up by residents of items and services that could be donated to make improvements in their neighborhoods. The paper also published a telephone number, manned by the United Way, where volunteers could sign up to help.

The response was large and immediate. Lawyers volunteered to use the legal process to shut down crack houses. Volunteers cleared a neglected community park, and started an after-school program and Girl Scout troops. The government also responded, razing unsafe buildings, improving sidewalks and storm drains, sending special police task forces into neighborhoods and launching recreational activities for children. In many of the neighborhoods, crime rates dropped.

Follow-up stories in subsequent years showed improvements continuing in most communities. The project won the 1996 Batten Award.


Contact:

Chuck Clark (former Government Editor, The Observer)
City Editor
Orlando Sentinel
633 N. Orange Avenue
Orlando, FL 32801
TEL: (407) 420-5468
EMAIL: cclark@orlandosentinel.com



The Public Agenda, Tallahassee, FL 1994

Partners:

Tallahassee Democrat
WCTV6 (CBS)
Florida State University
Florida A&M Universities

A three-year project, "The Public Agenda" involved thousands of Tallahassee citizens in discussing and seeking solutions to a wide range of issues facing the city.

Project leaders at the Democrat and WCTV used a host of tools - small group discussions, frequent polls, large forums and on-line chats, among them - to determine which issues citizens considered most critical and then engage those citizens in addressing the issues in a variety of ways. A community coordinator, Mimi Jones, organized citizen participation.

The partners kicked off the project in the summer of 1994 with a series of "living room conversations." A total of 29 people were interviewed in 10 separate small groups of two to five. These findings were paired with a more formal survey of 800 residents conducted by phone in the fall. The results were reported in the Democrat in a four-part, front-page series explaining the project and inviting participation. The first large public forum, attended by more than 300 people, was held Nov. 16, 1994 - the final day of the series - at the state Capitol and broadcast on WCTV. The paper ran special reports on issues identified in the public discussions: crime, growth, jobs, education and values, race relations and teen concerns. WCTV regularly ran stories about people and ideas that surfaced.

Citizens were invited to voice opinions and submit questions to public officials through the Democrat's "Public Agenda" page which ran periodically on the front of the Sunday editorial section and included "how you can help" boxes. The partners also held National Issues Forum training seminars to create a pool of facilitators for small group discussions on each issue. Six of the groups, each with six to 20 people, began meeting on their own and some continued to meet after the project formally ended in April 1997.

Polling continued throughout the project, in part to get feedback on how the project was perceived in the community. By year three, it found about one third of Tallahassee residents knew about the project and most of them had a favorable impression of it. Respondents also registered a positive change in their perception of Tallahassee as a city that pulls itself together.


Contacts:

Mimi Jones
Project Manager
The Public Agenda
1713 Silverwood Dr.
Tallahassee, FL 32301
Phone: (850) 942-7199

Michael W. Smith
News Director
WCTV-TV (CBS)
4000 County Rd. 12
Tallahassee, FL 32312
TEL: (850) 893-6666
FAX: (850) 668-3851
EMAIL: mike.smith@wctv6.com



We the People/Wisconsin, Madison, WI 1994

Partners:

Wisconsin StateJournal
Wisconsin Public TV
Wisconsin Public Radio
WISC-TV (CBS)
Wood Communication Group

Pew support helped "We the People/Wisconsin," one of American journalism's first and most enduring civic journalism coalitions, use innovative techniques to engage citizens in election coverage. The Pew support helped the partners measure whether the effort had an impact on public participation in the elections. The experiment showed that a planned, coordinated, multi-media civic journalism effort can interest citizens and draw them into the public sphere.

For coverage of the fall 1994 elections for governor and U.S. Senator, the media partners used the techniques they had been fine-tuning since coming together in 1992: Broadcast town hall meetings and debates where citizens were the key participants - identifying and discussing issues and asking questions directly of the candidates. The project organized three town hall meetings and a debate among gubernatorial candidates and one town hall meeting in the senate race.

In addition, the Wisconsin State Journal published a voter education series called "Armed and Dangerous," just before the November election, about how candidates and their campaigns try to manipulate public opinion through advertising and calculated debate responses. The information was also compiled into a booklet and 300 copies were distributed just before the election.

Surveys measured voter awareness and connectedness before and after the civic journalism effort. A random sample of 230 adults was interviewed in September, before the coverage, and 141 of that group were interviewed after the election. Among the findings: public interest in and knowledge of the election was higher. People felt encouraged to vote and they had a more positive attitude toward participating news organizations. The findings were published in "Civic Journalism: Does it Work?" a Pew publication written by State Journal editor Frank Denton and Esther Thorson, Associate Dean of the University of Missouri School of Journalism.


Contacts:

Deborah Still
Project Director
We The People/ Wisconsin
PO Box 5534
Madison, WI 53705
Phone: (608) 833-8545

Thomas W. Still
President
Wisconsin Technology Council
PO Box 71, 615 E. Washington Ave.
Madison, WI 53701-0071
TEL: (608) 442-7557
FAX: (608) 256-0333
EMAIL: tstill@wisctec.com

Tom Bier
General Manager
WISC-TV
7025 Raymond Rd.
Madison, WI 53719
TEL: (608) 271-5171
FAX: (608) 271-0800
EMAIL: tbier@wisctv.com

David Iverson
Executive Director
Best Practices in Journalism
2601 Mariposa St.
San Francisco, CA 94110
TEL: (415) 553-2489
EMAIL: iverson@wpt.org

James B. Wood
President
Wood Communications Group
700 Regent St.
Madison, WI 53715-1233
Phone: (608) 259-0757


NPR Election Project 1994

Partners:

NPR Election Project

National Public Radio, known for the extraordinary depth and seriousness of its public issues coverage, made changes in its approach to political reporting to improve its coverage of the 1994 election campaign.

The Washington, DC-based network worked with member stations in five cities and two statewide networks to provide high quality, issue-directed reporting based on an agenda determined by citizens.

The network helped its member stations form partnerships with other local news organizations to poll citizens, hold issues forums and town meetings, create advisory panels and use call-in shows to generate citizen input and deliberation, which was used to enhance national and regional political reporting. Specific activities and results varied from area to area:

  • The Front Porch Forum, Seattle, WA
    Partners:
    KUOW-FM, KPLU-FM (Tacoma), The Seattle Times

    The partners considered the election project such a success, they launched a long-term civic journalism partnership, called "The Front Porch Forum," after a focus group participant suggested people need to sit on their front porches and talk to each other more.

    The partners held four focus groups for the project, in May, then followed up with a statewide poll of 500 citizens in June. They found crime, growth, schools, health care and the economy to be the biggest issues. Each partner explored these issues in stories leading up to the election. On Oct. 26, 1994, the partners invited five undecided voters to quiz the two U.S. Senate candidates during an hour-long radio show. The Times ran a transcript of the event. Reader and listener feedback were generally positive and the partners continued to work together on other issues such as growth and leadership, in addition to later elections.

  • Voice of the Voter, San Francisco, CA
    Partners:
    KQED-FM, KRON-TV (NBC), San Francisco Chronicle

    The partners commissioned a poll of 633 Bay Area residents in advance of the 1994 gubernatorial primary and found the economy, the environment and education were the issues of greatest concern to voters. Each partner produced stories on the issues and cross-promoted each other's coverage. The partners also set up voice mail boxes where citizens could call in questions for candidates. Candidates answered the questions in weekly columns broadcast on KQED and KRON and printed in the Chronicle.

    Just before the May primary, the partners sponsored a televised, statewide debate among the gubernatorial candidates-the only one held. As the general election approached, the Chronicle launched a voter registration project, followed by several other large Bay Area papers, that resulted in 40,000 new voters.

  • The People's Voice, Boston, MA
    Partners:
    WBUR-FM, WBZ-TV (CBS), The Boston Globe

    The partners used a combination of forums, focus groups and a poll of 400 citizens to identify issues that voters wanted candidates to address for the project it dubbed, "The People's Voice." The Globe told readers the project was "the beginning of a pointed dialogue between candidates and voters." Through the summer and fall of 1994, the paper ran extensive stories on the citizens' issues and, in a regular feature, ran a citizen's question, the candidates' answer and the citizen's analysis of whether the candidate had answered the question. It also ran citizen critiques of campaign ads.

    WBUR regularly broadcast comments from the focus groups and candidate reaction, as well as talk shows with local experts and community leaders fielding calls. The partners hosted a live broadcast of five citizens questioning candidates for senator and governor, and the Globe helped sponsor a gubernatorial debate and two debates between the senate candidates, including one in which citizens were the questioners.

  • Texans Talk: The People's Agenda, Dallas, TX
    Partners:
    KERA-FM, The Dallas Morning News

    The partners sponsored a series of monthly public forums, broadcast on KERA and covered by the Morning News, based on issues identified as voters' chief concerns by a statewide poll. ""The Public Agenda" also featured a series of newspaper stories on each issue - some devoted to Texans affected by the issue and others devoted to the candidates' position on the issues. Questions from citizens surveyed for the poll were passed along to candidates and their responses were run regularly.

    The partners also worked together on a Senate and governor's debate, the only one of the campaign. About two dozen people who took part in the issue forums made up a citizens panel that posed questions to the candidates, along with KERA and Morning News reporters.

  • Your Vote Counts, Wichita, KS
    Partners:
    KMUW-FM, The Wichita Eagle

    A poll of 600 Kansans at the beginning of the "Your Vote Counts" project not only identified key voter issues, but also provided a pool of people for public radio reporters to turn to for comment on those issues. Those reporters used voters interviewed for the survey to provide perspective on virtually every aspect of campaign coverage. Poll participants took part in regular discussion forums on subjects such as crime, jobs and the economy. Several of those polled were tapped to conduct their own broadcast interviews with gubernatorial candidates. Reporters followed up those interviews with summary pieces on how citizens believed the candidates responded to their questions.

    The Eagle used the issues identified by the poll as the framework for its election coverage and added some new elements to its report. One new feature was a side-by-side chart summarizing and comparing opposing candidates' stands on issues. Post election research indicated that these were the most-read aspect of the paper's coverage and that most readers found them helpful.

  • Voters' Voice, New Hampshire
    Partners:
    New Hampshire Public Radio and TV, WGOT-TV, The (Nashua) Telegraph, the Concord Monitor, the Valley News, The Keene Sentinel, University of New Hampshire

    The partners in the "Voters' Voice" project conducted two extensive issues polls - interviewing 500 New Hampshire residents each time - and used the results in two ways. First, the results of each poll were reported in both short and feature length stories. Then, the second poll was used as the basis for areas to explore with candidates during three statewide, live debates. The citizen panels for each debate were selected from among poll respondents.

    The partners also sponsored three citizen-driven town meetings with candidates for governor and the state's two congressional seas. These were broadcast live statewide on public radio and TV and WGOT in Manchester and then rebroadcast at different times of day. NHPR saw no direct evidence that the project increased voter turn-out but thought it did make a difference in the quality of the public debate.

  • Campaign '94, Maine
    Partner:
    Maine Public Radio

    Maine Public Radio began its "Campaign '94" election project with a poll of likely voters. A public forum on jobs and the economy aired in October and special reports summarizing candidates' remarks on the issues ran in local segments of NPR's "Morning Edition."



1993

Illinois Voter Project, Chicago, IL 1993

Partners:

University of Illinois
League of Women Voters

The partners teamed up for the Illinois Voter Project (IVP), an effort to make election coverage more issues-focused and responsive to voters rather than candidates. The university conducted a statewide opinion survey before the March 1994 primary to determine citizens' major concerns. In June, the partners began a series of 14 focus groups designed to refine those findings, identifying in greater detail what citizens see as problems in their communities and possible solutions.

The research showed that key election issues were crime, education, jobs and tax spending. In September, after six weeks of recruiting members, the partners convened two Citizen Agenda Panels - one city and one suburban - to interview experts in the problem areas and develop a set of policy recommendations to present to candidates. Members of the panels were included among the questioners in a town hall-style debate sponsored by the partners Oct. 19.

The partners hoped that most Chicago-area media would use their research and citizen panels in election coverage and, thus, did not create a formal alliance with any particular media partner but reported their findings at press briefings. Interest was especially keen at the city's three daily newspapers. The suburban Daily Herald embraced the process and created its own citizen panel in addition to covering the IVP. The process also received coverage in the Chicago Tribune, the Chicago Sun Times and several radio stations. ChicagoLand Television (CLTV), a regional cable news service, produced a 30-minute documentary about the IVP that aired three times prior to the November election.




Tapping Civic Life, Wichita, KS 1993

Partners:

The Wichita Eagle
The Harwood Group

This groundbreaking project created what might be called the infrastructure of civic journalism - a set of tools for uncovering the civic life of a community and tapping into it. The Eagle set out with no less a goal than improving the quality of civic life in Wichita by strengthening and promoting public dialogue and better reflecting that dialogue in the newspaper's pages. It asked The Harwood Group (now the Harwood Institute for Public Innovation, of Bethesda, MD) to help it identify the origins of public discourse and determine how journalists could use the information in a meaningful way.

Harwood developed five steps for finding civic spaces and coined the term "mapping" to describe how newsrooms can use these steps to enrich their reporting. The idea is that a newsroom can create a roadmap for how different areas of a community's civic life work and how journalists can connect with those areas.

A team of Eagle reporters and editors tried out the materials in reporting on two very different Wichita neighborhoods. Their experiences were captured in a workbook, "Tapping Civic Life: How to Report First, and Best, What's Happening in Your Community." The Pew Center distributed the book to thousands of reporters and editors across the country. Civic mapping became a key tool in the efforts of many newsrooms to practice civic journalism. The book was updated in 2000 to reflect those efforts and was used to guide a series of seminars on civic mapping that involved 24 U.S. newsrooms.




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