The Community Forum

Local newspapers have been the trusted source for the sharing of news, information, ideas, and viewpoints for centuries. Now, amid the cacophony of social and digital media, newspaper franchises are seeking to redefine themselves. Welcome to The Relevance Project Resource for the Community Forum strategy and its advocacy, advice and archive of best practices. 

The Relevance Project makes the case for newspapers transforming themselves into THE Community Forum in this presentation delivered to state and provincial press associations. Learn more.

It’s Transformative

In its simplest form, being THE Community Forum transforms local media. The Relevance Project advocates executing the strategy in three parts, using the Forum or town-hall formats:

Part 1: Explain the mission of your news organization and its reporting. Collect suggestions and advice on how to strengthen community connections. Elaborate. Ask. Listen.

Part 2: Deepen the news literacy of your community. Confront misinformation. By fostering more knowledgeable consumers, attract a growing audience with trusted journalism. Expose. Correct. Encourage.

Part 3: Examine community problems and explore game-changing solutions. Enlighten democracy by demonstrating the importance of the local news media as a moderator of civil, civic discourse. Welcome. Encourage. Respect.

AND THIS: In all three parts, report on your progress and what you are learning. Make sure to add all of the local names and faces who are participating.

For Newsrooms

The success of the Community Forum initiative rests with the interest and engagement of local newsrooms. Are you interested in discovering ways to strengthen community engagement and to bring solutions-based journalism to your community and your newspaper? Read below for more information and contact us if we can help provide additional insight and resources.

Relevant Points on the Community Forum

Helpful Advice

Experience is often the best guide to those in charge of the Community Forum discussion. But in the meantime, these tip-sheet offer advice on getting started and how to engage an interested audience. 

Planning a Community Forum from start to finish.

Divide the 90-minutes into coherent purposes.

What every good moderator should do to lead the program.

Discussions can fit in several formats.

Organize the seating so that it fosters respectful participation.

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