Sonoma West lands ‘listening grant’

Among the newsrooms receiving Community Listening and Engagement Fund (CLEF) grants is Sonoma West Publishing. Rollie Atkinson is publisher of the company that produces newspapers in Healdsburg, Windsor, Sebastopol and Cloverdale.

Atkinson told CNPA last week that his company intends to deploy its grant by using Hearken, a platform that “enables news organizations to listen to and engage the public as a story develops from conception to publication.”

Involving the community in determining what to cover — and how — will mean a change in the traditional news-gathering process, he said.

“We will have a dialogue with individual and groups of readers about why they think something is important,” Atkinson said. “We can also assign a reporter up front to continue a dialogue with readers and/or news sources to better define the eventual news assignment. Ultimately, the editors will still assign the weekly stories, but we expect our story selection will begin to change.”

“We will continue to cover the ‘important’ news but we will also cover the ‘interesting’ news. We hope to attract more interest from previous occasional or non-regular readers,” he said.

Read the grant announcement

Previously: “Local-investor campaign: A follow-up”