Convene the Right People

Put in the work and care to convene the right people for any conversation. If you put out an open-call, use multiple platforms (print, television, online, radio), and ask your local media partners, community partners, and other community institutions (like churches) to amplify the invitation. Then, do due diligence to ensure there is a diversity of perspectives and geographic representation. For smaller, more intensive engagement activities, invest in some pre-screening to check that participants will contribute to a productive conversation that is aligned with your goals.


Engaging the high-profile, influential people in the community may lead you to inadvertently reinforce unwelcome power dynamics in the community – so make an effort to go beyond the usual suspects. Be particularly sensitive to fostering inclusive dialogue with people who might not typically interact with the newsroom. It’s also important to bring together stakeholders who otherwise don’t engage with each other. Bring together the players from a story to connect them to the readers and the people affected by them.