Hi, my name is Ana Martinez-Ortiz, and I am the community engagement reporter for the Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service. I’ve been at NNS since August 2018, but my role as the community engagement reporter began in the summer of 2019.
Community engagement can be defined many ways depending on the organization. Here at NNS we view community engagement not only as a way to interact with the neighborhoods we cover but also as a method of service.
“Service” means providing the information and the resources community members need to survive and thrive. The community engagement team offers information through how-to articles, resource lists, five things to know and do for the week/weekend, vignettes and explainer articles.
As the community engagement reporter, my job each week includes cultivating five things to know and do for the week and weekend, writing how-to articles, posting in Posts from the Community and engaging with community members. The community engagement team also meets once a week to brainstorm new how-to topics and how to better engage with the community.
Last summer, for example, we set up a living room set complete with a sofa and lamps at various concerts and festivals throughout Milwaukee. Families and friends received a family style portrait and polaroid for subscribing to our newsletter.
Community engagement goes both ways. There are multiple ways for community members to engage with the NNS team, the community and me.
1. Send me “things” for 5 Things
Each Monday and Friday, 5 Things to know and do for the week and weekend is published. If you want your event considered, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “5 Things.” Please get this to us at least four weeks before your event for optimum consideration. This goes for how-to ideas as well.
2. Write a piece for “Community Voices.”
“Community Voices” is a platform for community members to express their opinion on topics of interest that relate to Milwaukee and the neighborhoods we cover. Pieces should be between 500-800 words long and can be submitted to email@example.com.
3. Post in “Posts from the Community.”
Posts from the Community is the place for organizations to submit news releases, short articles and photos regarding their events and issues. You can post directly to the site by clicking here.
4. Follow us on social media.
Check out the NNS Facebook Page. We post regularly and it’s a great way to see an article or video you may have missed or to watch us do a Facebook Live. We are the only newsroom in the city that regularly posts articles from other media if we think our readers will be interested. It’s not about NNS. But it is all about you.
5. Post in the comments.
Whenever we compile lists of resources, I always mention our listing may not reflect all of the resources available for that particular issue or topic. If I’m missing something, post it in the comments. Same goes for Facebook. When we pose a question, make sure to comment or share the article. The community engagement team wants to know things, it’s why we ask.
As the community engagement reporter, I look forward to engaging with all of you. I hope you feel the same.
In case you missed it: Proceeding until apprehended: Inside the NNS newsroom