Agora Research & Reports

Building Engagement: Putting the Practice of Relational Engagement to Work

At a time of dramatically declining trust in media, news organizations of all kinds are searching for ways to build better relation-ships with the communities they serve. This report highlights trust-building innovations that involve relational journalism: journalism that focuses on enriching reporting by engaging with people as members of communities, not just as “audiences.”

Related articles:

  • Building Engagement: A Report on Supporting the Practice of Relational Journalism, April 2019
  • WATCH: Finding Common Ground

  • Putting Engagement to Work

    The Agora team studied how some newsrooms are trying to deepen their engagement practice, by looking at how they are putting the tools, consulting, and philosophy offered by the company Hearken to work. It examines how newsrooms are taking up the challenge to involve the public in every stage of the news process, particularly in posing topics for news stories. We find that newsrooms face constraints and challenges implementing “public-powered journalism,” but we also find a heartening commitment across these newsrooms to more deeply connect with the communities they serve.

    Related articles:


    The 32% Project: How Citizens Define Trust and How Journalists Can Earn It

    The 32 Percent Project held a series of community conversations with citizens across the country about trust in the news media in 2017. The team conducted a qualitative analysis of those conversations, which spanned racial, geographic, economic and political divides, and identified six key themes. These are the “conditions of trust” — the critical factors that citizens themselves say must be present for them to trust a news organization.


    Local Journalism in the Pacific Northwest: Why It Matters, How It’s Evolving and Who Pays For It

    Based on detailed, in-depth interviews with 12 editors, reporters, and a leading communications scholar based in the region, this paper shines a spotlight on the practice of local journalism in the Pacific Northwest. Local journalism—like the wider news media—has been massively disrupted by the advent of new digital technologies and behaviors. This has unlocked a wider range of information and entertainment sources for audiences, created new spaces and opportunities for advertisers, and resulted in layoffs and the shuttering of titles in many communities across the United States. However, this upheaval, which shows no signs of abating, has also produced new possibilities for journalists and storytellers.