Feb 1st 2018

2018 is a big year for local elections in Illinois. Races this year include: governor, states attorney and state representative. Media coverage of these events is often predictable: Which candidate raised more money? How are they doing in the polls? Who got the labor endorsement? But answering these questions does little to help voters make informed decisions at the ballot box. It also tends to leave constituents in the dark when trying to understand and impact their state government post-election.

What would it look like if we abandon this old model for political news and instead let our coverage be driven entirely by the questions and needs of our audience? That’s the question Chicago-based journalist and media innovator Ellen Mayer is trying to answer with her new podcast Illinoise. This week’s Public Newsroom gives attendees a chance to give input on the form and content of the podcast from the very beginning. Mayer will lead us in a hands-on workshop to identify information needs around local government and then imagine together how the Illinoise podcast might serve those needs in a genuinely useful and engaging way.

Mayer started her career at WBEZ’s Curious City, a radio show which answers audience questions about Chicago, the region, and it’s people. Curious City uses a “public-powered” model, which means that every step of the editorial process is driven by audience input. Now, with Illinoise, Mayer is applying the public-powered model to coverage of the Illinois state government.

This event is part of City Bureau’s #PublicNewsroom programming, a series of free, weekly workshops and discussions aimed at building trust between journalists and the communities they serve while shaping a more inclusive newsroom.

For more info on past and future Public Newsroom workshops and to becoming a sustaining member of City Bureau, visit http://www.citybureau.org/

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