1. I. Introduction (15m)
  2. II. Choose Your Own Adventure (30m)
  3. III. Case Studies (50m)
  4. IV. Best Practices (35m)

Engagement Toolkit

Convene the Right People

Put in the work and care to convene the right people for any conversation. If you put out an open-call, use multiple platforms (print, television, online, radio), and ask your local media partners, community partners, and other community institutions (like churches) to amplify the invitation. Then, do due diligence to ensure there is a diversity of perspectives and geographic representation. For smaller, more intensive engagement activities, invest in some pre-screening to check that participants will contribute to a productive conversation that is aligned with your goals.

Go beyond the usual suspects

Engaging the high-profile, influential people in the community may lead you to inadvertently reinforce unwelcome power dynamics in the community – so make an effort to go beyond the usual suspects. Be particularly sensitive to fostering inclusive dialogue with people who might not typically interact with the newsroom. It’s also important to bring together stakeholders who otherwise don’t engage with each other. Bring together the players from a story to connect them to the readers and the people affected by them.


“But what’s interesting is, everyone was willing to communicate. People do want to be understood. People within the community, lawmakers, law enforcement — they all want to talk. We were able to come in and talk to everybody individually and get them to tell us their story. How they want to see things done and how they want things to be better. We’re not speaking for anybody. We’re just getting people to speak to us, and we get to be this odd mediator of the conversation.”

Wyatt Cenac
Problem Areas
Assess Your Presence and Reach

Find a Partner or Collaborator