The study is up!

by moniguzman on May 9, 2016

Last week the American Press Institute published my study on best practices in audience engagement in journalism. It was the culmination of a lot of work I loved doing, and lessons I took away from conversations with 25 people around the industry who seem to have pieces of this puzzle figured out.

Here’s the report on API’s website — “The best ways to build audience and relevance by listening to and engaging your community.”

It was great to see people pass the report around, and see it written up on Nieman Lab. Here’s how the industry newsletter Local Fix summed it up:

Monica Guzman, a 2016 Nieman Fellow and columnist for the Seattle Times, CJR and others, released a terrific new report on community engagement. Guzman helpfully begins by defining the terms of the debate – engagement, audience, community and others – and draws on concrete examples, mostly from local newsrooms around the country. She shows clearly how smart engagement strategies are helping shift newsrooms towards more community support and strengthening the reporting process. She writes that for journalism “the real product is the relationship” between newsrooms and communities. “At its most powerful, engagement is not a layer to add on top of conventional journalistic practice, but a firmer foundation that links journalism more closely with the people it aims to serve.” But one of the best things about Guzman’s report is how concretely and immediately useful it is for newsrooms of any size.

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I’m vlogging again

by moniguzman on October 27, 2015

A couple years ago, I posted a bunch of video blogs when our son, Julian, was about 10 months old. They were time consuming but rewarding (here’s one of my favorites), and I realized later, after I’d stopped doing them, that they had become the single best way to look back and get a sense of what our lives were like when things were just a little different (a.k.a., one child instead of two).

So this week, I started them up again. The main impetus is Lina. She turns one on Thursday, and it seemed like a good idea to take a snapshot of our family with her as a baby before she passes that milestone into pre-toddlerhood.

But the thing is, these are really fun to do. I enjoy recording moments of our day, I enjoy sitting down at the end of the day to stitch them together, and I really enjoy taking a step back and actually noticing what life is like right now, what WE are like right now. Life gets so busy, and it’s so easy to get lost in the details, that you don’t realize how quickly time passes. Month to month, the kids look different, Jason and I get into different things, and various sub-stages of life fade into the next.

I’ve wondered why I don’t just make these videos private. They are mostly for me and the family. The reason, I think, is because when I know what I make is going to be public, I work a little harder to make sure it’s interesting. And that’s a good skill to develop, I think.

Here are the two videos I’ve done this week so far, from Sunday and Monday. The goal is to make one every day at least until Lina’s birthday Thursday. I kind of hope I don’t stop there.



P.S. – For those of you who subscribe to email updates about this blog (ha!), sorry about the blank emails the last two days. My If This Then That recipe that used to make a blog post every time I posted a public YouTube video broke for some reason.


What I’m into: Kids books

by moniguzman on October 15, 2015

I used to think kids books were the easiest. A few words and some doodles.

Now I know better.

I’ve read dozens of kids books over and over again to my 3-year-old son and 1-year-old daughter.

What’s amazing is that I can do it without going crazy.

Somehow, the people who make good kids books make them so they’re a good read not just the first time, but the hundredth time. They make adults as comfortable with repetition as their children are. They connect the world of the parent to the world of the kid. A few words and some doodles.

That’s got to be hard.




This is kind of my mission

October 15, 2015

The more honestly and effectively we each express ourselves, the greater our understanding of society and the greater our capacity to improve it. This is something I believe really strongly, I realized today. Whatever I do, I hope I’m always working to strengthen some part of this equation.

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Car free in Cambridge: This should get interesting

August 16, 2015

We did not bring either of the two cars we drove in Seattle to Cambridge. In the week since we moved here we’ve been pushing strollers, taking buses and holding little hands to cross streets. We are car free. And I’m a little concerned about that. When I first started working at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer [...]

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The search for coffee shops in Cambridge

August 12, 2015

If you know me, you know I’m a coffee shop worker. I like the movement. The ambiance. The collection of people doing their own thing together. The background buzz of all those conversations, which actually makes my brain work better. Really. People sample coffee but I sample coffee shops. I go to different ones depending [...]

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The strategy study I’m working on for API

June 24, 2015

I’m working on a strategy study for the American Press Institute on a topic I care a lot about: engagement in journalism. I’m doing lots of interviews, lots of reading, lots of thinking, and lots of structural tinkering to figure out how to share what I’m learning so it’s clear how important involving the public [...]

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Some big news

May 15, 2015

I found out a couple weeks ago, but I can finally talk about it today: I’m a 2016 Nieman Fellow! Here’s what that means: – I’m moving to Boston in August with Jason and the kids – I’m spending the 2015-2016 academic year taking courses at Harvard and MIT in and around what most fascinates [...]

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Four things I want to do after watching ‘The Good Wife’

November 11, 2014

I’m on Season 5 of “The Good Wife,” the CBS legal drama starring Julianna Margulies that became my binge of the moment during the long days at the end of my pregnancy. Every time I drown in a TV show, little things about it get in my head. This series is no different. Here are four things watching [...]

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My (mother of two) morning

November 10, 2014

It’s 8:12 a.m. on a Monday. My son is dancing to Michael Jackson’s “Wanna Be Startin’ Something.” My newborn daughter is asleep in our bed. I’ve had my Keurig coffee. My Oatmeal Squares cereal. I’ve looked in the mirror on the wall by the dining room table and thought, as I do most mornings, that [...]

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