Engage! Using Audience Engagement to Report on Social Justice Issues

This free and open workshop took participants behind the scenes of an innovative, investigative reporting project with interactive training in audience engagement, community data sourcing and use of social media video by industry leaders from ProPublica, NowThis, NPR and others.

Professionals from newsrooms across the country walked guests through how they utilize different audience engagement strategies every day to reach consumers of their content.

Experts also shared strategies for using data resources, data visualization tools and community-based resources for covering food insecurity, as well as insights for effective community engagement in social justice reporting.

In a ground-breaking partnership between the Morgan State University School of Global Journalism and Communication and the West Virginia University Reed College of Media, students and faculty from both programs experimented with these concepts last fall in an immersive food justice reporting project that was screened at this event.

Panel Discussion featuring:


David Smith teaches in the visual journalism program at the WVU Reed College of Media and serves as a multimedia specialist for the College’s communications team. Before coming to WVU, Smith worked as a freelance photographer in Columbus, Ohio, and Morgantown, W.Va.

Ron Taylor is a Professional Fellow at the Morgan State University School of Global Journalism and Communication. He served as the School’s 2014-15 Knight Fellow, where he was involved in MSU & WVU’s collaborative social justice reporting project, “Bridging Selma.”

Hilary Kinney is a senior journalism student at the West Virginia University Reed College of Media.

Jazmine Hawes is a senior broadcasting and integrated media student at Morgan State University School of Global Journalism and Communication.

Nick Tabidze is a journalism graduate student at the West Virginia University Reed College of Media.



David Eads is the Senior Supervising Editor for the visuals team at NPR, where he builds new applications.  He also developed and maintains the Tarbell platform, an open source publishing tool. Before joining NPR, he worked for the Chicago Tribune.

Talia Buford covers disparities in environmental impacts for ProPublica.

Previously, she was an environment and labor reporter at The Center for Public Integrity and has also worked for POLITICO Pro and The Providence (R.I.) Journal.

Amanda Zamora leads audience growth and engagement efforts at The Texas Tribune. Previously, she was a senior engagement editor at ProPublica. She has also worked at The Washington Post and the Austin American-Statesman.

Terry Parris Jr.  is an engagement editor for ProPublica’s and an adjunct professor at CUNY Graduate School of Journalism. Prior to joining ProPublica, he led digital production and engagement at WDET 101.9 FM, NPR’s affiliate in Detroit.

Julia Haslanger is an engagement consultant with Hearken. Before Hearken, she worked as an audience engagement editor at The Wall Street Journal, a page designer at Politico and a web producer for Politico Pro.

Dexter Mullins is a Senior Producer at NowThis News. He’s previously worked at NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams, The Wall Street Journal, WSJ Live, Al Jazeera America and CBS News as an Associate Producer for their 24-hour live streaming network CBSN.


Panel discussion featuring:

Rev. Dr. Heber Brown, III is a community organizer, budding farmer, social entrepreneur and Senior Pastor of Pleasant Hope Baptist Church in Baltimore, Maryland. He is also the founder of the Black Church Food Security Network.

Dr. Bradley Wilson is an associate professor of geography at West Virginia University. He is the founder and director of the WVU Food Justice Lab, an experimental space to create more equitable food systems.

Carrie Burns is an Education and Advocacy Coordinator for the Maryland Food System Map Project. She joined the Center for a Livable Future as a research assistant during her master’s training and has also served as the Project’s communications specialist.

Turé Johnson is currently the supervisor of Paradise Farms, which is the eighth Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) certified farm in West Virginia and one component of KISRA’s Growing Jobs Project.


Joel Beeson is an associate professor at the WVU Reed College of Media. He lead a collaborative initiative with the Morgan State University School of Global Communication and Journalism to develop “Bridging Selma” and “Broken Plate,” two investigative social justice reporting projects.

Event Details
  • Status
  • Address
    62 Morrill Way 4th Floor, Morgantown, WV 26505