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I’ve created two options for community members to share their views, both found at edmontonjournal.com/groundwork. There’s a short online survey for anyone who wants to leave a written note. I’m also hosting three virtual office hours next week for anyone who would like to talk “face-to-face.”Sign up through Eventbrite. It will be an informal discussion in a small group setting so we can hear from each other.
These hours are next week Monday at 1 p.m., Tuesday at 7 p.m. or Friday at 10 a.m.
It’s an engagement, not an interview, so it can be frank and “off the record.” I won’t quote from those sessions or the written survey unless I follow up with the person who shared and get their explicit permission. But we’ll use all these contributions to come up with a reporting plan.
This approach is new for the Edmonton Journal, but not entirely new. Journalists traditionally connect with their community through informal conversations, coffee with a source, and by just keeping their eyes and ears open as they go about living in the communities they serve.
Today, we also have our Letters to the Editor section, reporter email addresses at the end of each article and most reporters are on social media. But we can do more.
For the past several years, I’ve run an experiment I call a crowd-sourced editorial board. As a city hall reporter, I fostered a community of 2,000 Edmonton residents on Facebook and did my best to post about ideas before I started writing.
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