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Community Engagement and Collaboration in Reporting

  • Coleman Branch, Chicago Public Library 731 East 63rd Street Chicago, IL, 60637 United States (map)

This workshop will explore methods for connecting and collaborating with your audience during the reporting process and after your story is published. We'll talk about how to identify your target audience, learn their needs, and develop a story accordingly. We'll also talk about how the "story" format doesn't fit every audience, and explore alternate ways of communicating, including events, flyers, and zines. We'll discuss the difference between reporting about vs. reporting for a community. And we'll talk about strategies for ensuring your finished work actually reaches the people who need it most. This workshop will involve breakouts where we discuss possible engagement strategies for participants own work. It's not required, but it will help if you come with a story idea or project in mind.


Ellen Mayer is a community journalist, producer and facilitator. She's a producer for The Hoodoisie, a radical talk show about culture and politics. Most recently, she was politics editor for the South Side Weekly and City Bureau fellow. She started her journalism career at WBEZ's Curious City, where she learned to put audience curiosity and collaboration at the center of her work. She also spent two years as an Engagement Consultant for the journalism-tech startup Hearken, helping newsrooms around the world build relationships and engage more effectively with their audiences. She is also a recovering music journalist and ex-musical theater kid. She's from Brooklyn and enjoys arguing about the best place to find bagels in Chicago and convincing people not to move to New York.