What is Hearken, and How Can NHPR Use It to Improve Our Reporting?

Nov 5, 2016

Thanks for participating in our Community Advisory Board demonstration of Hearken!

Hearken describes itself as a platform for "next-level audience engagement."

"Typically, the process of pitching story ideas and assigning stories to reporters happens in the closed environment of newsrooms. Hearken invites the public into that process: your audience can fill your pitch pipeline with original story ideas in the form of questions, vote on their favorites, and provide valuable feedback when choosing stories to assign."

Basically, the idea is: Instead of waiting until the end of the reporting process to report back to your audience and solicit feedback, why not involve them from the beginning?

There are many potential benefits to flipping this traditional approach on its head — you make your audience feel more valued, you are introduced to new story ideas or issues that you might otherwise be missing and you can build a true community around your reporting projects, which in turn can build audience engagement and keep more people coming back to keep following along with your reporting.

Credit Hearken

"People will and do share stories when they feel truly connected to that content. This could be because they voted for a story, it answered a question they had, they were personally featured in it or knew someone involved. The last two frames in this comic depict what we at Hearken witness every time news organizations meaningfully involve individuals in their communities." Hearken Founder Jennifer Brandel, A comic treatment of a tragically broken process in journalism

Credit Hearken

Some examples of Hearken-powered reporting in other newsrooms:

To test out the process yourself, weigh in on one of the prompts below...

Special Series


The Exchange


Word Of Mouth


And the Results...