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#457 The Pizza Stone: What WBEZ Learned By Biting Into Engagement Journalism


Alex Keefe, Editor on the WBEZ Government & Politics Team, he/him

As a lead coordinator WBEZ’s election coverage, Editor Alex Keefe knew the station had to come up with a different way to cover the insanity of the 2020 races. At the same time, he and some dedicated colleagues also were looking for ways to integrate engagement journalism tactics more regularly into the hustle and bustle of a competitive, big-city newsroom. So they decided to adopt a newsroom-wide Citizens Agenda approach to election coverage, letting people most affected by COVID-19 drive part of our journalism.

Building on the success of that project, WBEZ decided to adopt a similar – but different – approach for its coverage of COVID-19 vaccine distribution in Chicagoland. Our goal for both projects was to listen to some of the communities hardest-hit by the pandemic, and to produce journalism, tools and events that would serve them. This talk will focus on how WBEZ did these two engagement journalism projects, what they learned, and how they’re hoping to improve things for the next time around.

ASL This event will not have an American Sign Language interpreter.