RPD: Always Start With Readers

14th in a 2022 Series*

Starting with readers is always an excellent Relevance step. I’m sure the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel isn’t the first news organization to ask readers ahead of a mayoral election what they want the candidates to talk about. But using a collaboration with other local media and building what they call a “Citizens Agenda” both send a strong signal the election is about the people, and not necessarily what editors decide. Milwaukee’s initial request is to answer 15 questions, including those seeking information about the citizen. There’s a main interest in the top issues, but this sleeper question could frame additional community conversations of importance: “What worries you about the future of your neighborhood?” If I were the Milwaukee collaboration, I wouldn’t stop with the completion of a survey. Drive the dialogue more intensely using THE Community Forum strategy. Then, draw up a list of confirmed issues to further explore and develop Community Forums around each one. Cheers to the Citizens Agenda effort. Ensuring that citizens have the first say might even make for a more enlightened election. Shocking, I know. Mark the Milwaukee initiative a Relevant Point.

–Tom Silvestri, Executive Director, The Relevance Project

*ABOUT THE SERIES: Our goal is to share a Relevant Point of the Day (RPD) each weekday throughout 2022. Our target is at least 222 (Note: no zeros). Thank you for supporting The Relevance Project. Your success is our focus.

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