Summer 2011 | Online Exclusives

Links that Bind Us

In digital space, journalists are proving to be a powerful force in creating, nurturing and engaging communities. No longer serving only geographic zones, they confront the fragmentation of audience and the need to attract and retain “eyeballs.” Their efforts to embrace and interact with communities are fueled by an instinct to survive. Habits and hobbies, interests and values, political leanings, and sports allegiances are the grist of community formation. Discover the various roles journalists are assuming and how the links we share bind us. —Melissa Ludtke

Links that Bind Us
Introduction (1 comment)
By Melissa Ludtke, Editor
Envisioning Connections
Community: A New Business Model for News (10 comments)
‘… the most powerful emerging business driver in the new economy is community.’
By Michael Skoler
Start Spreading the News (2 comments)
‘Word of link’s power is like nothing we’ve experienced before. It’s about how we pass along information, share ideas, and expand business in our digital times.’
By Mark Briggs
When Community and Journalism Converge
‘… I am bypassing the predictable, often sensational headlines to explore the profound ways that digital storytelling can be a force for political mediation.’
By Katerina Cizek
Engaging Communities: Content and Conversation
‘Editors ought to require that story pitches and budget lines include an engagement component, reflecting community conversation, collaboration and outreach.’
By Joy Mayer
Curation, Community and the Future of News (5 comments)
‘People are clearly overwhelmed by the growing volume and weight of digital content and messaging that they feel compelled to process.’
By Steven Rosenbaum
A Community Watches a Story Unfold
‘It was risky to reveal parts of the story as it unfolded because in 30 years in this business I have seen projects hit dead ends.’
By Ron Sylvester
Finding Information Pathways to Community Inclusion
‘I yearned for grass-roots assessments of every community’s information ecology and widespread advocacy for stronger, more democratic media.’
By Peter M. Shane
When Machines Decide What We ‘Think’
By Jan Gardner
City as Community
Journalism of Value = Context for Communities (5 comments)
The approach the Chicago News Cooperative is ‘trying to use journalism to create communities organized around an interest in the news.’
By James O’Shea
Revealing the Underbelly of Turbulent Times
By Jan Gardner
Reporting Pushes Past Language and Ethnic Divides
‘… Alhambra Source has revealed significant lessons about the power of journalism to build community in diverse and underserved areas.’
By Daniela Gerson
What We Learn Informs What We Do
By Nancy Chen
Focusing a New Kind of Journalism on a City’s Needs (3 comments)
‘… residents need to have journalism delivered as they want to consume it and in ways that will encourage them to move beyond absorbing news to acting on it.’
By Bill Mitchell
A Promising Collaboration of Place, Time and Niche
By Lynette Clemetson
A New Partnership to Build a Common Understanding
By Shirley Stancato
Advertising as Storytelling—So News Stories Can Be Told
By Kirk Cheyfitz
Embedded in Community
Local Reporting Builds a Community’s ‘Social Capital’ (1 comment)
‘Community journalism assumes its value in finding ways to connect people—by identifying passions and concerns they share, linking neighbor to neighbor, and motivating people to act.’
By David Joyner
Writing About People You Know (3 comments)
‘In community journalism, there is no place to hide, and if you want to hide, then you have no business in this business anyway.’
By Al Cross
Everyone’s Welcome at the Newsroom Cafe (3 comments)
‘We’ve torn down the dividing wall and now we can listen closely to the voices once behind it. That’s what our changes are about.’
By Emily M. Olson
Engaging a Community
Health Draws a Community Together Online (2 comments)
‘A new mindset emerged as the site’s gates swung open to community involvement. Now, community members are part of what we do every step along the way—and we are progressing together.’
By Jane Stevens
What Football Pep Talks Taught Hyperlocal Reporters
‘Inestimable value comes out of making a human connection visible through something as ordinary as a half-time pep talk by a coach to his players.’
By Bob Calo
Words and Visuals Intersect to Create Community
Interactive sites like Intersect ‘trace the contours of a story’s growth through the flow of time and place and offer viewers the chance to embed their stories into those being told by other members of this community.’
By Peter Rinearson
Connecting Kids With News in Their Community (2 comments)
Youngsters made video games, and educators found that ‘hands-on activity helped kids to process news reporting. It also gave them ways to tell this story by integrating their perspectives as they aimed it at fresh audiences.’
By Renee Hobbs
News Literacy: What Not to Do (2 comments)
By Renee Hobbs
Media Literacy: Learning Principles
By Renee Hobbs
Online Comments: Dialogue or Diatribe? (43 comments)
Among the minority who dominate the online conversation is ‘the digital equivalent of the loudest drunk in the bar.’
By Alicia C. Shepard
Words & Reflections
The Inner Fire of Muckraking Journalists
‘… without the time-honored, shoe-leather investigative work and skillful interviewing, passion and outrage amount to little in the journalism realm.’
By Steve Weinberg
Steve Weinberg: Connections and Disclosures
By Steve Weinberg
Deciphering the Life of a Complicated Thinker
A novelist turned biographer places ‘[Marshall] McLuhan’s maddeningly difficult ideas in a recognizably human context.’
By Dan Kennedy
A Failing Newsroom—Described With a Novelist’s Touch (1 comment)
Tom Rachman ‘is telling this story at a perfect time as newspapers shed staff and costs and, in some cases, shut down their presses altogether.’
By Christina Kim
Curator’s Corner
Living the Legacy of the Nieman Foundation
‘Helping to free Dorothy [Parvaz] and bring Hollman [Morris] to Harvard demonstrate the effective use of the Nieman bully pulpit.’
By Bob Giles
Nieman Notes
Landing in Al Jazeera’s Vibrant Newsroom (1 comment)
‘… people show up on days off, come in early and leave late often without being asked, because not being in the newsroom when major stories break seems inconceivable.’
By D. Parvaz
Feeling the Embrace of Her Nieman Family
By D. Parvaz
Class Notes (1 comment)
Compiled by Jan Gardner
In a Time of Need, a Friend Indeed (2 comments)
‘I imagine [the memorial service for the Rev. Peter J. Gomes] was filled with people like me who needed to thank a man, a minister, who helped them believe again—whether it be in God, life, love.’
By Patricia S. Guthrie