One of the questions we’re talking about a lot is “what is engagement and why does it matter?” We’re talking about it this week in Minneapolis Public Schools and we’re talking about it this week in Minneapolis Schools Voices.
I wanted to spend just a moment talking about what engagement means to Minneapolis Schools Voices, why it matters to us, and how we utilize the engagement that we do.
Engagement is, in short, the process of listening to people most impacted by an issue and then integrating that learning in a meaningful way into the work of a campaign, movement, or organization. It is the process of making sure that people impacted by an issue have their experiences and perspectives built into a solution or response to an issue.
In terms of the work at MSV, engagement is about ensuring the voices of parents, students, and teachers are heard in the reporting and storytelling that we do. We need to guarantee we’re not just talking about parents, students, and teachers. We want to be talking TO you and WITH you.
Engagement is the first step, in my mind, in helping people own their voices and understand the power of their own stories. As a professional community journalist, I think that community journalism is a collaborative effort and that only happens if the reporters and each of you understand each other and trust each other.
In terms of what that means at MSV, I am attending PAC meetings, grabbing coffee or a meal with individuals and groups, and connecting via social media - and all of that work is outside of the actual interviews I do. A conversation might eventually lead to a story or a request for an interview, BUT interviews are separate.
I think it is important for all of you to understand the engagement process and how that impacts our reporting, but I want you to also trust that we understand that the engagement and journalistic processes are separate-but-related.
That’s all for now. Remember you can reach out any time to me to connect! You can contact me anytime at email@example.com.