Public-powered journalism: All the news readers think is fit to print


When design thinking comes to the newsroom the result is something called “public-powered journalism.”

Basically it flips the usual model for reporting from giving the public what the newsroom thinks it needs to asking the public, what do you not know that we could find out for you?

“Newsrooms are designed to pump things out—and not at all for pumping things in,” Jennifer Brandel, the co-founder and CEO of Hearken, said at the Innovation Workshop that closed out the Annual Meeting. “They have no strategic process for involving the community.”

Public-powered journalism encourages incoming suggestions from the community—and then invites the public to string along with reporters as they pursue the suggested story. Being seen as responsive to the public is vital, Brandel said.

“It’s not just great for the editorial side—but also for the business side,” she said. “It’s proven to be of significant value to audience growth and revenue.”

Articles Hearken has developed for media organizations are five times more likely to convert readers to subscriptions or memberships, she said. The possibilities of foundation-funded reporting opens up, and paid events can be developed around topics the audience has already said they are interested in.