Our Civic Media Design Process

Information Garden (n.)

In today’s news and information industry you hear people talk a lot about the local news crisis. Often, the conversation centers around “news deserts” — places where local newsrooms are dying, leaving their communities with just one newspaper or no newspaper at all. 

Traditional newsrooms are part of a healthy information ecosystem. But, they’re only one part. For the United States to thrive as a true, equitable democracy, the goal can’t just be to save legacy news.

At the Listening Post Collective, we envision a world where everyone lives not in a news desert, but in an information garden; where everyone has access to high-quality, culturally-relevant, civic information in accessible languages and on issues that impact them.

Our Civic Media Design process is what turns that vision into a reality.

Our Three-Step Process

We partner with people and organizations to develop local news and information solutions that help communities thrive. Fostering equitable media leadership requires trust and time. We work to listen, build networks, understand information needs, and develop real solutions through true collaboration.

The work can be challenging, but the process is straightforward: listen, seed, cultivate.

 Contact us for more information.


Phase One: (6 + months)

Our approach to civic media design starts with the most important tool in any journalist’s toolkit: Listening. Nobody knows a community better than its residents. That’s why we spend months building trust and working with civic leaders to survey community members about the local information landscape. Our process culminates in an Information Ecosystem Assessment—a snapshot of the community’s information assets and opportunities.


Phase Two: (6 months)

Based on what we learn in the Listening phase, we solicit proposals for civic media projects and offer microgrants to help equitable media leaders launch their startups.  


Phase Three: (3+ Years)

We support our equitable media partners with:

• Three years of one-on-one coaching and business development support
• Full access to our peer network, where partners can connect with one another and grow their influence
• Strategic investments in their communities via local media literacy & civics 101 workshops, curated partnerships, and philanthropic advocacy

Here’s our current cohort of equitable media partners.


Civic Media Design: Inland Empire Case Study

The Inland Empire, or “IE,” is a region in Southern California, directly east of Los Angeles. Encompassing Riverside and San Bernardino counties, it’s centered around the cities of Riverside and San Bernardino. The region boasts a culturally diverse population with a range of socio-economic backgrounds and faces unique challenges concerning economic development, education, healthcare access, and civic participation. Learn more about how we applied our Civic Media Design process in the IE.

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