What is service journalism?
Service journalism involves identifying a community’s information needs, building trust with residents and holding power to account for failings and inequities. We keep residents first, asking them what information they need, and delivering it in the most accessible way. We want to give Milwaukee residents the information they need to navigate existing systems and to create change in their neighborhoods.
How does News414 work?
We send free, personalized data via SMS texting, standard text messaging, to Milwaukee residents. The text snapshot below shows what an early interaction between News414 and a resident looks like from our end. If you want to try it yourself, text the word MILWAUKEE to 73224. Message and data rates may apply. As a subscriber, you may receive up to four messages a month, or more depending on the information you share or request. Reply HELP for help or STOP to cancel at any time. Privacy and Terms can be found here.
After this chatbot-driven interaction, we invite each of our users and news consumers to talk directly with a journalist. For instance, news consumers might ask questions about housing, food or jobs, and we report out the answers for them. These conversations also drive our deeper-dive accountability and investigative work published by NNS, Wisconsin Watch and other news outlets.
Is anyone else doing journalism like this?
Yes! News414 is adapted from a model pioneered by News414 partner Outlier Media, which reaches roughly 500-750 Detroiters each week with vital information about housing, utilities and COVID-19. More than 30% of respondents ask for a follow up with a reporter. Outlier’s individual engagement with Detroiters has helped hundreds navigate or avoid eviction, foreclosure or utility shutoffs. Its broader accountability journalism has sparked changes to policies and practices surrounding rental inspections in Detroit and county tax foreclosure auctions.
Who is funding this project?
News414 was launched with $234,000 in support from the Google News Initiative Innovation Challenge. The newsrooms are investing $110,000 of their own resources.