This study examines the case of a local public radio initiative attempting to engage historically underrepresented audiences through a year-long outreach experiment. Curious City, a series produced by WBEZ Chicago Public Media, uses the Hearken digital engagement platform to invite listeners to ask and vote on questions, and then participate in the reporting process. Drawing from interviews and observations, the study examines best practices to combine digital and offline strategies, and the importance of pre- and post-broadcast engagement. The study also reflects on journalistic norms and approaches to participatory media, local news “storytelling networks,” and relations between public media and marginalized publics. The final report was published in spring 2017.
Project lead: Andrea Wenzel