Engaged Journalism explores the changing relationship between news producers and audiences and the methods journalists can use to secure the attention of news consumers. Based on Jake Batsell's extensive experience and interaction with more than twenty innovative newsrooms, this book shows that, even as news organizations are losing their agenda-setting power, journalists can still thrive by connecting with audiences through online technology and personal interaction.
Batsell conducts interviews with and observes more than two dozen traditional and startup newsrooms across the United States and the United Kingdom. Traveling to Seattle, London, New York City, and Kalamazoo, Michigan, among other locales, he attends newsroom meetings, combs through internal documents, and talks with loyal readers and online users to document the successes and failures of the industry's experiments with paywalls, subscriptions, nonprofit news, live events, and digital tools including social media, data-driven interactives, news games, and comment forums. He ultimately concludes that, for news providers to survive, they must constantly listen to, interact with, and fulfill the specific needs of their audiences, whose attention can no longer be taken for granted. Toward that end, Batsell proposes a set of best practices based on effective, sustainable journalistic engagement.