KCPT, a PBS member television station in Kansas City, uses multiple platforms to listen, understand, and engage its audience. The station is in the midst of a year-long deep dive into education with a solutions focus, and has harnessed both digital and on-the-ground engagement activities to feed the project.
Tools & Tactics:
- Community Advisory Board: KCPT convened a group of education experts to act as a sounding board for stories and ideas for the project. Representing a cross-section of the community (and intentionally designed to be more diverse than the newsroom), the Board provides sources for stories, reviews stories after publication, and holds the station accountable for delivering high-quality reporting.
- Curious KC: This Hearken-powered initiative collects questions and story ideas that are then voted on by readers. The top picks are investigated by KCPT reporters and turned into stories.
- Public Insight Network: This tool, owned by American Public Media, helps to generate and identify sources, collect insights, and spark story ideas.
- Meetings between community partners, producers, and reporters
- Habitual PBS activities (i.e. public town halls, documentary film screenings)
- It takes resources: Executing on solutions-oriented reporting while conducting engagement efforts can be a lot to take on all at once. KCPT has a dedicated Community Engagement Producer, who works with the Managing Editor of Digital and Multimedia Content to integrate engagement across the newsroom. Strategic multi-platform engagement is difficult without dedicated staff, so pick and choose the tools that you can manage. Don’t set up a channel unless you’re certain you have the bandwidth to participate in it.