American Journalism Project asks the community to share their experiences with the media

The American Journalism Project is now focused on educating Waco residents to find out what their relationship is with journalism and the media. Camryn Duffy | Photographer

By Luke Araujo | Personal editor

the American journalism Project is a philanthropic organization that has raised more than $86 million for nonprofit news, supported 32 nonprofit news organizations and launched three startups, according to the organization. website. Now the organization is give a hand to local Waco residents to ask questions about ttheir relationship with local journalism and media.

As part of its work in Waco, the American Journalism Project has partnered with the Waco Foundation to help him with his project. One of the ways the organization gathers public opinion is by recruiting Community Listening Ambassadors who ask their friends, family and other Waco residents questions about their background and perspectives.

Meg Wallace, Community Listening Ambassador, said Community Listening Ambassadors have a pattern of questions they ask interviewees.

“They set it up really nicely so we could just type in responses and hit send,” Wallace said. “We can decide who we interview. I meet a person involved in journalism every week pproject, Fiona Morgan. It started with me thinking about the people I would like to interview. She paid attention to the areas of the community we heard about and brainstormed with me who I could contact in the areas of the community. »

Community Listening Ambassador Jaja Chen said ambassadors typically do about five hours of interviews per week.

“The interviews are with different people in the community who are interested,” Chen said. “It could be our friends, our networks, our neighbours. It can be anyone we know who is willing to do a Zoom interview. As it concerns the ways they get news locally.

Chen said she became an ambassador to ensure there was diverse representation from communities of color in the organization.

“As an Asian American in Waco, a lot of people I know might be voices that would otherwise not be included without another Asian American ambassador,” Chen said. “I also like current affairs and journalism in general, so it’s Very important to stay involved in our community and that is just one way to support community engagement.

Wallace said she joined the organization after seeing her friend’s work in the organization.

“I thought that sounded interesting,” Wallace said. “He is Very important that people with disabilities are represented in the media and in policy-making. My thought process was that if I became a ambassador, I could contact people I know in the disability community and invite them for an interview. I can see that their views are included in the research.

The newspapers went out of business recently due to a loss of public interest, Wallace said.

“They’re being taken over by national companies, and the ability to do good, broad local news coverage is diminishing because there’s no money behind it,” said Wallace. “It’s harder for print newspapers to succeed because there’s so much happening online, and we expect to be able to read our news online for free. This really changed the whole business model of newspapers, because previously subscriptions and advertising revenue were the main drivers of their income. Today, the advertising situation is different, because print is not taken up and people want to be able to read for free online. »

According to Wallace, when members of the local community were asked what they most wanted to see in the news, the most common responses included human interest stories as the focus.

“What I’m surprised I don’t hear is people rarely say they want investigative journalism,” Wallace said. “Historically, journalism has had an investigative role, holding local governments accountable and things like that. It’s barely mentioned in the interviews I’ve done, which I find interesting. I think part of that is because we’ve moved so far away from when it was affordable for local newspapers. It’s not even part of our idea of ​​what papers can do.

The future of journalism will depend heavily on social media and Online mediaChen said.

“It won’t just be through online news articles, but through social media-based information,” Chen said. “Everyday people will write, create content, vlog. I think there will be a lot more live journalism through live interfacing. Of course, people will continue to address the news, whether it’s online articles, blogs, TV news or physical. But social media is going to become more mainstream in our news.

“I think it’s very important to stay involved in projectThat’s how it is,” Chen said. “The news is one of the primary ways people can learn about what’s going on in our local Waco community. If we don’t have news that is accessible or relevant or representative of the population, it can be difficult for people to engage and to take part in our community. Journalism is at the heart of this.