The best journalism usually starts by asking the right questions. Noozhawk has been blessed with great reporters asking many of those questions, but we always strive to be better. We know you can help.
Journalists traditionally have toiled away outside the public’s view, only receiving reader feedback after they’ve published their reporting. New information often will point a reporter in a fresh direction but, if I’m just being honest, sometimes the response comes too late to be useful. A small news organization such as ours already may have had to move on to the next story.
As the digital news era evolves, however, the status quo has changed.
Noozhawk is not afraid of innovation and disruption; we owe our existence to it. So long as we live up to our professional standards and principles, we’re game to explore new ways to report on the community we respect as much as you do.
Enter Noozhawk Asks, a new reader engagement platform that provides a way for us to involve our readers as we’re developing prospective story ideas and projects.
Jennifer Brandel, founder and CEO of Hearken, the platform’s developer, calls the concept “public-powered journalism.” She contends that inviting readers to ask questions as part of the process is far more insightful and valuable — for journalists and for readers.
You’ll be able to pitch questions to us and share feedback when we’re considering some of our assignments. We may even ask you to join the reporting process with questions of our own for you. In some cases, we’ll ask you to vote on which questions we explore in depth.
By creating conditions for an authentic, ongoing conversation as well as cultivating possible new story leads and sources, we know our reporting will be that much more relevant to the community we serve.
And by deepening our relationship with an even larger share of our readers, we believe Noozhawk actually can incorporate you in the search for solutions and options for some of our community’s more vexing problems.
We’re not going to rely on the program for everything, and we’ll be using the process at our discretion.
We’re also asking that you use your real names. I’ve written before about coarse being the new culture, and anonymity plays a major role in that incivility — which is on full display daily in Noozhawk’s comments section.
Our community, like our country, is confronted by monumental challenges that will not be solved or resolved in the shadows or on the extreme edges. If we are to turn these challenges into opportunities, each of us must come forward to discuss and debate them in public — vigorously and civilly.
With Noozhawk Asks, we think we can play a vital role in bringing more reasoned discussion to these important issues, and we’re eager to open it up to your questions.
— Bill Macfadyen is Noozhawk’s founder and publisher. Contact him at email@example.com, follow him on Twitter: @noozhawk, or click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.