Improving civic engagement through a software-assisted community news harvest

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Hardie, James
Blom, Robin
Kuban, Adam
Tait, Gabriel B.
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The availability of comprehensive, representative sources of local news remains core to a community’s level of civic engagement, whether in local politics and elections, community improvement efforts, or general public life. While many business models for gathering, producing and publishing local news are evolving, and some succeeding, they still often have significant gaps, whether in efficient use of already available community information, inclusiveness of diverse voices and perspectives, or financial sustainability and the model’s repeatability or scalability. In this creative project I explore one of these new models and the intersections of local journalism, software publishing tools, civic engagement and improving diversity and inclusion by combining my studies in the Ball State Journalism program with my skills and experience in web software application development to research and contribute improvements to an existing community news service. In doing this I have contributed to not only helping that news service to thrive, but also to establishing a template and methodology that could be repeated in other communities where a sustainable local news production model is still missing.