Friday, April 28 , 2017, 6:28 am | Fair 57º

Noozhawk Asks: Information + Inspiration for Santa Barbara County

Bill Macfadyen: Noozhawk Asks — Information + Inspiration for Community Journalism

You have questions, and so do we; let’s find the answers, together

We invite you to join us in Noozhawk Asks, a voyage of discovery and discussion. Click to view larger
We invite you to join us in Noozhawk Asks, a voyage of discovery and discussion. (Giana Magnoli / Noozhawk photo)

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.

What’s yours?

— Bill Macfadyen is Noozhawk’s founder and publisher. Contact him at [email protected], follow him on Twitter: @noozhawk, or click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click here to get started >


Noozhawk Asks Stories

Noozhawk Asks Sponsors

Noozhawk wishes to thank our Hawks Club members for their generosity and willingness to make Noozhawk Asks a reality.

It’s not too late to get your name on this list. If you would like to make a contribution, please contact publisher Bill Macfadyen at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or 805.456.7195. Contributions to Noozhawk are not tax-deductible.

Thank you.

Suzie & Fred Allen

Katy Bazylewicz

Casey Bemis

Jean Blois

Ri-Pen Chou

Jeff DeVine

Brian Fahnestock

Judy Frost

Michael Gartzke

Marilyn Gilbert

Wesley Ginther

Stephanie Gombrelli

Patricia Griffin

Hib Halverson

Ed Heron

Bonnie and Richard Jensen

Danny Langhorne

Sofie Langhorne

Colin Macfadyen

Kirsten Macfadyen

Alixe Mattingly

Sheila & Frank McGinity

Kathleen Meehan

Kristen Miller

Bree Morris

Paula Patrick

Ed Seaman

Elizabeth Tilton

Kyra Turner

Scott Van Horn

Noozhawk’s note: Several dozen readers requested anonymity with their contributions.