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News Tools Workshop

June 19, 2016 @ 8:00 am - 5:00 pm

In February 2016, the Center for Media Engagement hosted its third news engagement workshop, the first to focus on news tools. The 12 digital news leaders who participated represented a variety of newsrooms: Los Angeles Times, The Boston Globe, The Daily Beast, WNYC/New York Public Radio, Houston Chronicle, KXAN (Austin NBC affiliate), Media General, GateHouse Media, NOLA.com, The Texas Tribune, The Dallas Morning News, and the Knight Lab at Northwestern University. During the two-day workshop, participants shared their ideas and experiences with using tools to improve engagement.

When discussing how to define a “news tool,” workshop participants came up with a shortlist:

  • Tools must be re-usable
  • Tools must meet a need of the news organization or the audience
  • Tools must allow for interactivity
  • Engagement tools target a news audience; production tools are used within the newsroom

With that definition of “tools” in mind, participants shared experiences and new ideas for using existing tools, as well as brainstormed an array of tools that could be used to address pressing social issues. In this report, we outline the topics that were discussed during the workshop, including:

  • What makes a tool successful? What makes a tool unsuccessful?
  • What issues are ripe for tool creation?
  • What tools could be created to combat political polarization?
  • How could news organizations get Millennials more involved in the news?

See the full reporton the workshop for more.

Themes that emerged from the workshop include

  • Digital Success and Analytics – How can analytics and engagement best be incorporated throughout the practice of making the news? What new metrics would you want?
  • Audience Involvement – How can readers and staff engage?
  • Website Design – What are best practices and new ideas for providing visitors with reasons to keep coming back?
  • Political Polarization – What could newsrooms do to affect levels of polarization?
  • Questions Facing the Digital Newsroom – What do you wish you knew about metrics, workflow, mobile, and keeping pace with technology?

Workshop participants

Wright Bryan, NPR
Jennifer Carroll, Gannett Digital
Megan Chan, Politico
Rachel Clarke, CNN
Ryan Kellett, The Washington Post
Enrique Lavin, NJ Advance Media
Allison Lichter, The Wall Street Journal
Todd Olmstead, The Wall Street Journal
Barry Osborne, The Denver Post
Allison Rockey, Vox
Ben Turk Tolub, Philly.com


June 19, 2016
8:00 am - 5:00 pm