August 19, 2020

RELATED: This local newsroom is growing during a pandemic

How to create deeper relationships with the community

“It added so much more weight to our question, when we could say ‘The majority of the 100-plus city residents we interviewed and surveyed this month told us: Homelessness in the city is their number 1 issue. What is the problem with the way the city has been handling homelessness? What policy would you push forth?’” said CEO/co-founder Kara Meyberg Guzman.

Now, adapting to the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Santa Cruz Local staff is gathering responses to inform their coverage for the fall election. They set up a socially distanced triangle for quick, five-minute interviews — reporter, Spanish interpreter and resident. They’re also holding more conversations online, created a community advisory board and have partnered with the Local Voices Network.

Citizens Agenda in Action: Examples of newsrooms asking the public what they want candidates to be talking about

Priorities from the public, not politicians

Citizens Agenda in Action: Examples of election coverage informed by the citizens agenda approach

Bridget Thoreson is the engagement manager at Hearken. You can follow her on Twitter at @BridgetThoreson. This piece originally appeared on Medium. It has been republished with permission.

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