In February 2016, the Engaging News Project hosted its third news engagement workshop, the first to focus on news tools. The 12 digital news leaders who participated represented a variety of newsrooms: Los Angeles Times, The Boston Globe, The Daily Beast, WNYC/New York Public Radio, Houston Chronicle, KXAN (Austin NBC affiliate), Media General, GateHouse Media, NOLA.com, The Texas Tribune, The Dallas Morning News, and the Knight Lab at Northwestern University. During the two-day workshop, participants shared their ideas and experiences with using tools to improve engagement.
When discussing how to define a “news tool,” workshop participants came up with a short list:
- Tools must be re-usable
- Tools must meet a need of the news organization or the audience
- Tools must allow for interactivity
- Engagement tools target a news audience; production tools are used within the newsroom
With that definition of “tools” in mind, participants shared experiences and new ideas for using existing tools, as well as brainstormed an array of tools that could be used to address pressing social issues. In this report, we outline the topics that were discussed during the workshop, including:
- What makes a tool successful? What makes a tool unsuccessful?
- What issues are ripe for tool creation?
- What tools could be created to combat political polarization?
- How could news organizations get Millennials more involved in the news?