Projects and Partnerships

Community of Practice Platform for Engaged Journalism

The Community of Practice Platform for Engaged Journalism will support the diversity of people working at the intersection of news, information, and civic engagement by connecting them to each other for collaboration. Thanks to John S. and James L. Knight Foundation’s $221,000 investment, this platform will also enable us to contribute to and use a central and organized growing body of knowledge of best practices about community engagement.

Experience Engagement conference photo

Experience Engagement

This working conference, a partnership with Journalism That Matters, was held in October 2015, and explored the question:

What is possible when the public and journalists engage to support communities to thrive?

Our intent is to illuminate, inform, and support community information health that contributes to thriving, inclusive communities by learning about processes that grow it, creating products that support it, catalyzing a community of practice dedicated to it, and identifying actions to amplify it.


In June 2015, more than a dozen prominent Portland tech leaders pledged to actively promote racial and gender diversity within their companies. To help the city’s tech community make good on that commitment, the Agora Journalism Center led a digital conversation about diversity issues at Willamette Week’s TechFestNW conference in August. Throughout the two-day event, Agora’s project team posed questions pegged to the on-stage presentations, and audience members spoke back on Twitter, sharing their insights and expertise using the hashtag #WeAllWinPDX.

#WeAllWinPDX captures the conversation around civic technology to directly address the needs of the community with the end goal of building with and NOT for the public by supporting existing mentorship programs.


Illuminate emerging forms of journalism in unexpected places

#THISisJournalism is a collection of transformative projects that challenges our definition of journalism and yet continues to serve the functions of journalism to enhance public knowledge and enrich civic life.

We encourage highlighting work outside the obvious places of mainstream media… but, of course, would welcome examples of traditional media engaging with stories and communities in new ways.

Journalism and media work are no longer performed by journalists and media professionals alone. The public wants to create, contribute and share news and information. We invite the media industry and the public to use the hashtag #THISisJournalism on their favorite social network to identify media work that illuminates emerging forms of journalism in unexpected places.

Storytelling with Data

Using Data to Create Stories

Hack Oregon and the Agora Journalism Center collaborated on a 3-day Storytelling with Data Build-a-Thon, on March 26-28, 2015 at the George S. Turnbull Portland Center. Interdisciplinary teams were recruited within the community to produce data-driven stories inspired by themes around some of the biggest issues facing Portland and Oregon. Each team was comprised of journalists, developers, designers, subject matter experts and students.

The Purpose

True data-driven storytelling happens when interplay is allowed between the “story the data wants to tell” and a rich human narrative that can provide context and a filter for the audience. Because the industry standard is so high for technology consumption, rendering this process for public engagement most often requires a round table of creatives, and coders, and subject matter experts— a team dynamic which can not only be challenging and but also prohibitively expensive for most news environments.

We created this project to explore ways that well organized research and development and trained facilitation can condense the workflow to create short-term interdisciplinary teams to produce a data-driven story for publication within a 3-day build-a-thon.

The Environment

Each team was composed of 5-7 diverse team members (including a journalist), and were tasked with a deliverable of a story and an interactive visualization at the end of three days which, will be published/hosted with their respective media partners. No pressure at all.

The groups captured their techniques and learning process with a public demo night on Saturday, March 28 which was open to the public.

The Projects

Projects started during this program include: AfterShock, Innovation Economy, Campaign Finance Transparency, Sustainable Housing, and Education. These stories can be found on the Hack Oregon website.


Science and Memory Climate Reporting Project

The UO School of Journalism and Communication students and faculty are in the midst of a three-year project in Cordova, Alaska, on the Copper River Delta, creating multimedia stories that explain climate-change research and how it affects the local communities. This experiential learning opportunity brings students and scientists together to create credible, accessible stories about area environmental research.

Under direction of Journalism Senior Instructor and Area Director Mark Blaine, MS ’00, who led the trip along with Carolyn Silva Chambers Distinguished Chair of Advertising and Advertising Area Director Deb Morrison, Senior Instructor of Photojournalism Dan Morrison, and Assistant Professor of Practice Torsten Kjellstrand, cohorts of journalism and advertising students spend the month of July in Alaska and then return to Eugene to continue telling stories.

“Journalism struggles with communicating about climate change and other complex problems,” Blaine says. “We wanted to look at new models of doing journalism related to these issues.”

Students and faculty chronicle their time in a field journal ( and continue to develop their research into a multi-platform, multimedia experiences.

Experience their journey in Cordova at