We hear a lot about using newsrooms to connect the community/make a difference and about how engagement should be an integral part of journalism… but often think of it on a really complicated, trickle-down level. Here’s a concrete example of a journalist who made a simple request for a local viewer via social media, and brought the community together quickly to find a solution.
Alex Rozier, an anchor/reporter at KHQ, the NBC affiliate in Spokane, posted the following message on his Facebook page after receiving a message from a man in the community that could not afford a heavy winter coat in a hard-to-find size:
Soon after, one Facebook friend posted that they had the coat, but weren’t sure how to get it to the man… another posted that they could drop it off at their office and they would get to him… and as the conversation progressed, people living in the area realized that this man’s problem was perhaps one affecting a larger fraction of the area that they’d thought… it seems like it may even grow to something bigger. Whether it does or does not, it shows how one simple message from someone with a platform to post it can make a difference and connect people to solve a problem. Pretty cool.
(I should mention that I do know Alex from the University of Missouri where we worked together at KOMU. He’s a great person and a fantastic journalist.)