Andrea Wenzel is an assistant professor at Temple University. She is the author of Community-Centered Journalism: Engaging People, Exploring Solutions, and Building Trust (University of Illinois Press, 2020). Her research focuses on initiatives to create more connected and inclusive communities and newsrooms through engaged, solutions-oriented, and reflexive journalism. Prior to completing her PhD at USC Annenberg, she spent 15 years as a radio producer at WBEZ and WAMU, and a trainer and project manager for organizations such as BBC Media Action and Internews in Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Iraq, and Ghana. She is the co-founder of the Germantown Info Hub. Her research has appeared in journals such as Digital Journalism, Journalism Practice, Journalism Studies, Journalism: Theory, Practice and Criticism, and the International Journal of Communication.
Tow Center Projects:
Engaging communities through solutions journalism is a collaborative research project that assessed how audiences process local solutions-oriented stories, and their online and offline behavioral intentions. Adapting stories developed through a Metamorphosis research group project connecting South Los Angeles community organizations and local media, South LA residents participated in focus groups exploring the impact of solutions-oriented community-based journalism. The project made recommendations for a model for solutions journalism interventions that may be particularly useful for diverse communities.
Curious Communities: This report asks what we can learn from Curious City’s digital and offline strategies to expand the demographics of people whom media is listening to. It draws from observations of the program’s outreach process and twenty-five interviews with journalists, participating audience members, residents of targeted outreach areas, and partner organizations. It also offers an opportunity to reflect on journalistic norms and approaches to participatory media, how community stakeholders interact with local news, and relations between public media and marginalized publics.
From Polarization to Public Sphere: This research study examines what political polarization and urban-rural divisions look like in the daily lives of residents at the local level. The project focuses on a case study of a region of Kentucky, including the “purple” college town of Bowling Green and the more “red” and rural area of Ohio County. Drawing from interviews and media diaries, the study examines the communication ecologies of residents and the potential for community engagement across demographic and ideological lines. The study also explores challenges and opportunities in the rural media landscape through a workshop with local and regional media and community stakeholders.
Media, mistrust, and marginalization: Case studies from urban and suburban Philadelphia: This study looks at two very different areas of the broader Philadelphia metro media system: one majority African American, political progressive neighborhood; and one majority white and politically divided suburban area. Through a series of focus groups, “story diaries,” and interviews, we examine the network of communication resources residents in each place assemble to meet their information needs. We explore how residents negotiate trust with news outlets and other communication resources—the reasons underlying mistrust, and how they adapt their communication ecologies when facing a deficit of trust.