How to encourage audience-first thinking

Audience engagement goes beyond traditional journalism to create an environment for listening to your community, sharing meaningful stories and responding to people's questions, wants and needs.

Here are some ways to create room for engagement and audience-first thinking in your organization.

  • Start small.
  • Embrace a culture of learning (failure = not learning).
  • Create space for a sandbox and protect that sandbox and the time needed to experiment.
  • Make sure there’s buy-in from whoever controls the time.
  • Build a coalition of the willing, look for the spark (the YAYsayers).
  • Create some metrics for success.
  • Be able to identify whether engagement is really successful.
  • Regularly schedule time to reflect on how things are going.
  • Be courageous. Look at what’s not really working at your organization and sunset it to make space for change.

Taken from Lessons from #10YearsUP, a Poynter workshop supported by the Robert R. McCormick Foundation with takeaways and resources gathered at Poynter NewsU.

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    Vicki Krueger

    Vicki Krueger has worked with The Poynter Institute for more than 20 years in roles from editor to director of interactive learning and her current position as marketing communications manager.


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