How We Work With News Organizations

Curious about how Knology works with journalists? This post sheds some light on our approach to research with the news media.

by Knology
Apr 25, 2022

If you work in news, here are some things you’re probably thinking about:

  • What roles does news play in people’s lives?
  • What roles could news play in people’s lives?
  • What assumptions do audiences have about some particular topic?
  • What do news routines and day-to-day talk about news look like, and how are they changing?

Social, legal, and technological changes create new possibilities for producing and using news. How are journalists and different publics talking about and using these possibilities?

We partner with news organizations to jointly study these changes; their ever-changing relationships with their readers, watchers, and listeners; and how new journalists absorb and shape professional norms. This work also includes research with publics to understand their routines, their talk about news, and the role news plays more generally in their lives.

How do we answer these questions?

At Knology, we’re firm believers in participatory research. That means we define every step of the process with our partners. Together, we shape the questions and the methods, tease out direct implications through dialogue, and co-produce resources that support journalism and journalists.

What does participatory research with us look like?

Participatory research is not market research. The goal is to support the public service mission of (primarily) non-profit and public media.

It always looks like…

  • collaboration that fits with your existing routines, such as shared Slack channels or standing meetings
  • review from you at every step of the research process, and responsive flexibility if something’s not serving everyone’s goals
  • as much or as little involvement as you want in conducting research and writing it up

It might also look like …

  • deep-dives into newsroom processes and categories to ensure our results fit your work
  • audience experiments to try out different ways of presenting similar information (example)
  • deep understanding of what your audiences think they know (example)
  • mapping the current landscape of reporting about a topic (example)
  • eliciting audience feedback on specific pieces of content through focus groups or survey platforms
  • expert advice on-demand to summarize what existing research says or help you apply it to work in progress
  • agenda-setting for future research and practice (example)

Journalism is a dialogue between reporters and their audiences, and getting more of a sense of who you’re talking to makes your work better. Here are some of the results of these kinds of participatory processes:

  • more easily understood visualizations
  • improved on-the-job training for emerging journalists
  • more sensitive reporting on polarizing topics like COVID-19 and the carceral system
  • spelled-out norms and guidelines for different social media platforms

Photo credit: PBS NewsHour

Join the Conversation
What did you think of this? How did you use it? Is there something else we should be thinking of?
Support research that has a real world impact.