Connecting with Digitally Empowered News Audiences
Engaged Journalism explores the changing relationship between news producers and audiences and the methods journalists can use to secure the attention of news consumers. Based on Jake Batsell's extensive experience and interaction with more than twenty innovative newsrooms, this book shows that, even as news organizations are losing their agenda-setting power, journalists can still thrive by connecting with audiences through online technology and personal interaction.
Batsell conducts interviews with and observes more than two dozen traditional and startup newsrooms across the United States and the United Kingdom. Traveling to Seattle, London, New York City, and Kalamazoo, Michigan, among other locales, he attends newsroom meetings, combs through internal documents, and talks with loyal readers and online users to document the successes and failures of the industry's experiments with paywalls, subscriptions, nonprofit news, live events, and digital tools including social media, data-driven interactives, news games, and comment forums. He ultimately concludes that, for news providers to survive, they must constantly listen to, interact with, and fulfill the specific needs of their audiences, whose attention can no longer be taken for granted. Toward that end, Batsell proposes a set of best practices based on effective, sustainable journalistic engagement.
"Engaged Journalism is a welcome addition to the ongoing discussion over how to define audience engagement, identify the best practices, and determine their effectiveness with regard to audience loyalty and revenue. The coverage and writing style are impeccable and engaging." — Dan Kennedy, author of The Wired City: Reimagining Journalism and Civic Life in the Post-Newspaper Age
"In an era where the definition of being a journalist must expand to include the responsibility of getting more audiences to find and engage with your journalism, Batsell makes a compelling case, with great case studies, for why engagement matters, and how newsrooms can transform from being gatekeepers to a limited few into gate-openers for millions more." — Raju Narisetti, senior vice president of strategy, News Corp., and former managing editor of the Washington Post
"This important and timely book is a must-read for journalism practitioners and students who need to understand the fundamental transformation of news from a one-way transmission of information to a conversation. As Batsell persuasively argues, 'engagement' isn't merely an industry buzzword. Listening to and building deeper relationships with audiences is not only key to building trust and loyalty, but is also a critical part of financial sustainability for news organizations. Batsell provides numerous examples from some of the most innovative news organizations on how they have approached engaging with their communities and what they have learned, offering a number of practical ideas and principles that can inform journalists' daily work." — Carrie Brown, CUNY Graduate School of Journalism
"This book is stuffed with concrete examples, bringing the often-nebulous concept of audience engagement into the practical world. Batsell answers the 'why' of the strategies he discusses, not just the 'what' and the 'who,' and the book will be interesting to optimists invested in the future of news." — Joy Mayer, Missouri School of Journalism, and director of community outreach, Columbia Missourian
"A must-read... Any thoughtful news consumer will appreciate the solid, first-hand reporting that Batsell shares on this important topic." — Communications at Syracuse Blog
"Engaged Journalism delivers something we see too rarely in journalism education--new ideas, described well and supported by on-the-ground research. This book is a concise yet enthralling introduction to what could be an important set of future journalistic practices." — James Stovall, University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Foreword, by Mark Briggs
List of Interviews
Introduction: Why Engagement Matters
1. Face-to-Face Engagement: How News Organizations Build Digital Loyalty and Generate Revenue Through the "Original Platform"
2. News as Conversation: Not Just Informing but Involving the Audience
3. Mining Niche Communities: Serving Topical and Hyperlocal Audiences Through Digital and Mobile Platforms
4. Search, Explore, Play: Drawing Readers into Journalism Through Interactive Experiences
5. Sustaining Engaged Journalism: Measuring and Monetizing the Audience Relationship
Read the introduction, "Why Engagement Matters":