A panel including three individuals came together to discuss metro news in Chicago with nonprofit communicators, volunteers and staff in and around Chicago during a major community conference held on June 8th and 9th. The individuals from Chicago news organizations provided an example of the reality that the news business has been drastically changing.
Cate Cahan from Chicago Public Radio WBEZ, Fernando Diaz from Hoy Chicago, Patrick Curry from WGN News and moderator Valerie Denney from Denney Communications all began the panel with the intention of helping an audience of people from nonprofits better understand how to get their nonprofit organization's story into the news and raise their profile. But, the more they talked, the more the following meme emerged: "Report your own story."
I attended the panel session as a volunteer for Community Media Workshop and was very hesitant to take issue with the course of conversation during the discussion. I was not a nonprofit hoping to gain something. I was an observer with a fair amount of knowledge of shifting trends in media and an interest in the future of journalism in America.
Cahan reasonably suggested that nonprofits "find out who reporters are" so that the right person to cover a story could be found. She then suggested that nonprofits could videotape what they do and mentioned that they could record audio for a "soundbite of the day." And, she suggested people take photos as well.
This could be posted on the organization's website so that when nonprofits sent emails requesting coverage from a news organization that news organization could go to the website and mine it for content for their story on the nonprofit.