Why are we running this project?

Globalization provides societies and individuals with enormous opportunities for development and progress, and at the same time, it is testing society's cohesion and solidarity. As a result of ongoing migration processes, different values clash with each other, inequality in the international economic structure is rising, and an essential part of the population feels increasingly left out of decision-making process. These developments lead to polarized societies in Europe and the United States, to tendencies of seclusion as well as a decline in trust in democratic institutions. Moreover, public debates find themselves increasingly infused with harsher language that aims for polarization instead of mutual understanding. This goes hand in hand with rising criticism towards established media outlets and the retreat of public debates into digital echo chambers.

What are our goals?

We support media professionals in Europe and North America that have developed innovative formats of engagement with their communities to foster dialogue and reinvigorate trust in the media. The role of journalists hereby is to initiate and facilitate honest and nuanced debates.

How does the project work?

The program addresses professional media professionals from North America and different European countries that have previously developed innovative engagement formats and are interested in expanding them. Selected participants are awarded up to 10,120€ to take part in two workshops in Europe and the United States as well as to visit another participating project. They will be mentored by experts and will learn how to use the Reflective Practice Guide from the previous project round (“Finding Common Ground”) to evaluate and maximize their impact.

Where does the project take place?

The kickoff workshop took place from June 12-14, 2019, in Portland, Oregon. Participants will then use the summer months until November 2019 to visit one other participating project for direct peer-to-peer-exchange. Mentoring sessions will be take place online during this time. The program will be concluded at a final gathering at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, Oxford University, in November 2019.

Who organizes and supports the project?

"Engaging Communities" is a project by the Agora Journalism Center for Innovation and Civic Engagement of the University of Oregon, funded by the Robert Bosch Foundation as well as the News Integrity Initiative.