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We built this community — A case study of a community-building journalism project


Part of the process of building credibility and interest in your publication is considering how your program may use talents and skills to build connections between the members of your community.

In this lesson, we will look at three different types of media (from professional and scholastic domains) that have undertaken storytelling projects in order to humanize faces in a crowd and issues in the world.
As you learn about three professional and scholastic programs who have undertaken a public “gallery” of stories, consider the following:

What unites our school?
What unites us as humans?
What questions are meaningful for people to consider telling a story about?
How will these stories be best published?

In this lesson, we will consider how to broaden our journalism for multiple purposes:

  • Students will build interviewing skills
  • Students will build reporting skills
  • Students will build portrait photography skills
  • Students will build credibility as a program
  • Students will build connections in and among our community

Common Core State Standards

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.11-12.1.b Work with peers to promote civil, democratic discussions and decision-making, set clear goals and deadlines, and establish individual roles as needed.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.11-12.5 Make strategic use of digital media (e.g., textual, graphical, audio, visual, and interactive elements) in presentations to enhance understanding of findings, reasoning, and evidence and to add interest.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.11-12.7 Integrate and evaluate multiple sources of information presented in different media or formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively) as well as in words in order to address a question or solve a problem.


25 minutes plus time for discussion

Project planning and execution will vary depending on size, scope, and publication goals. This project may be an excellent way to begin or end the year for an entire staff, or it might be a project for a smaller group to work on for an extended time.


Slideshow: We built this community

All materials and directives for the students to learn and execute their plan are given in the slideshow, with specific directives for action on slide 16.

Rubric: We built this community

Lesson step-by-step

Teacher and students can work through the lesson and examples and then develop their own parallel action plan.


Students can be broken into project management roles or jobs based on the 10 steps on slide 16, depending on their strengths.