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“Boosting Relevance and Revenue Through Listening”

Speaker: Jennifer Brandel

Moderator: Natalia Antelava

December 8th, 2020, 15:00-15:30 CET

Written by Amedeo Gasparini

Keywords: Coworking, Newsrooms, Democratization, Ecosystem, Collaboration

Short annotation, summary

The relationship between the newsrooms and the public should be potentially much more consistent, close and open. One the one hand, the newsrooms must learn to listen more and better to what the public is asking for while on the other hand, the public should be more engaged in a new virtual community. Both newsrooms and the public need to interact with each other and learn to pose relevant questions to one another. The Hearken project promotes this inter-dialogue, as well as the concrete and the active listening to the public.

The project or approach to be discussed in the session

Hearken offers a new and dynamic type of inter-community-centered connection between the public and the newsrooms, uniting them in a virtuous cycle of story-sharing and storytelling which makes both the public and the newsrooms more responsible and active in reporting relevant news. In Hearken project’s view, both audience and newsrooms need to be open and receptive to one another and this of course will create a clever coworking and reporting, based on stories that are important to both players.

Evidence of impact

The project is relevant from the point of view of public enhancement since the latter becomes even more important and should be more enhanced by the newsrooms; thus, this allows the creation of a community, an ecosystem of exchange of thoughts, sensations, opinions and above all, questions and stories that could also lead to important social changes as well as strengthen the important tie between public and information. The virtue of a democratized ecosystem also allows to break down cultural barriers and grants greater value for stories which are “co-created” (and shared) between the public and newsrooms.

Limitations, risks of the approach provided by the speaker

The model does not work if there is a lack of communication between the public and the newsrooms. There should be an entrenched and direct communication between these two actors, a sincere dialogue and a positive cycle of exchange. Furthermore, the process doesn’t work if the newsrooms are stuck in a different mediatic era, meaning that they should be close to people’s information needs or potential lack of information on a subject. Within Hearken’s model it is the entire communication process between public and media that must be more harmonious and inclusive.


The news-sharing and story-creating activity between newsrooms and the public is based on active question-making: particularly, Hearken intends to revitalize the process of exchange between these two actors. Secondly, the creation of a community between the public and the editorial staff also gives a sense of democratization in framing the news, so that everyone can powerfully communicate and report a story that is more or less relevant to the public. Third, the collaboration between newsrooms and the public is useful for strengthening the link between the mediatic world and the public opinion.


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