Create Better Communities with the Monitor

Hi, I’m Allie, audience engagement editor for the Concord Monitor, and I’m heading up a new initiative called the reader advisory board. The Monitor has been serving its communities through local reporting for more than 150 years, and to do that even better for the next hundred years we need to find the right balance between respecting tradition and embracing new ways to share news and information in the Granite State.

The goal of the reader advisory board is to give people from different walks of life the chance to come together and share their insight and ideas about local news coverage and community involvement with Monitor editors – and I think having folks in their 20s and 30s represented on the board is vital. Why? Because they are the emerging, and a lot of times current, community leaders. They’re the future of New Hampshire. What do they want from their local news source?

People in their 20s and 30s right now also have a good sense of both the traditional and new news formats. They grew up around the cusp of an industry transition where news didn’t just come from the daily paper, but also email blasts and social media. I know this because I’m one of them.

I’m about two months shy of my 30th birthday, which seems an apt time to reflect on where I’ve been so far (and where I hope I’m going). Having grown up both personally and professionally in New Hampshire, I can stop for a moment and think about the rather unique time in the field of journalism that I was trained in.

Photo by Roman Kraft on Unsplash.

I remember getting the Concord Monitor delivered to my house every day just as well as I remember the excitement of being old enough to sign up for an account when Facebook came out (which I did on my family’s shared desktop, of course).

I remember my early reporting jobs where I wrote stories with only one audience and one mode of communication in mind. I’ve experienced firsthand the shift to digital news, the inclusion of community-centered reporting, and the idea that “news” can be much more than words on a page, and often the push back against or disregard for all of those things.

In journalism, as in many industries, the sentiment of “we’re going to do it this way because that’s how we’ve always done it,” is daunting to tackle, but so important to do. And sure, maybe the way it’s been or being done is the best. But we don’t know that for sure until we look around. It’s really exciting for me to be part of a newsroom in my home state that not only values young voices but is actively looking to grow and embrace different ideas.

The reader advisory board is just one way the Monitor hopes to learn from its communities, to find out what coverage and information are needed. Another way is simply by asking them (More on that in a minute).

You don’t have to have any kind of journalism or news background to be on the reader advisory board. In fact, you don’t even have to be a subscriber to the Monitor. You just have to be someone who is passionate about local news and knows their community, whatever that community may be, and wants to make it better.

How to apply for the reader advisory board — and other ways to engage with the Concord Monitor:

About Allie Ginwala

Allie is the audience engagement editor for the Concord Monitor where she oversees the Opinion section and community engagement initiatives. A New Hampshire native, she graduated from UNH and wrote for a number of NH publications before moving to New York City to earn her master’s degree from Pratt Institute. Before the Monitor, she was the coordinator for The Open Newsroom, an initiative in NYC to make local news more collaborative. In her free time (and depending on the season), you’ll find her snowshoeing, cross-stitching, salsa dancing, or stopping at as many local coffee shops as possible on a given day.

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