This is a course in listening to a community: understanding and empathizing with its needs and learning how to help a community share its own knowledge.

Our new MA program in social journalism is based on the idea that we need to think about more than producing “content” and filling space. Social journalism is first and foremost about listening. Whether communities are brought together by geography or shared interest, social journalists serve them best by building relationships and helping them produce tangible impact that goes beyond page views or clicks or “likes.”

In this class we will explore and practice a variety of different techniques for listening to, understanding, and building trust with communities. We will  draw upon disciplines from outside of journalism such as cultural anthropology, ethnography, public health, design thinking, and community and political organizing to help us hone these skills.

In this blog, students and professors will share what they are learning and thinking along the way, and we encourage others to chime in with their thoughts.