Journalism isn’t just about informing readers, it’s also about helping them take action


Most media outlets — both the traditional kind and the digital-first kind — still see themselves primarily as information engines, pulling in data and making sense of it and then telling readers or viewers about it. But there’s an equally important part of the job, especially when it comes to local journalism, and that is helping a community do something about the news events they are reading about.

There was a great example recently in Britain, as described by Trinity Mirror digital director David Higgerson on his blog. The Manchester Evening News was covering a fire at the historic Manchester Dogs Home, the kind of thing that local newspapers often do, and they started a live blog to post updates and photos of the action — again, a pretty typical thing for a newspaper or news website.

But then came something less typical: The newspaper decided to post a…

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