News Engagement Day: From flash mobs to trivia games, a day to talk about why news matters

By Samantha Shotzbarger

Paula Poindexter has been studying news audiences for as long as she can remember.

As a past president of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, a former manager and executive at the Los Angeles Times, an author and a professor at The University of Texas at Austin School of Journalism, Poindexter has conducted research on news audiences from her years in graduate school till today.

Now, Poindexter is getting ready for the second annual News Engagement Day on Tuesday, Oct. 6. The goal of the event is to get “as many people as possible both nationwide and throughout the world to engage with news and remember why news matters,” according to a written release.

“We needed to have a day devoted to engaging with news, essentially so that we could make people aware of how important it is,” said Poindexter, the chair of News Engagement Day, a program of the AEJMC. “It’s important for our democratic society to be informed.”

Engaging projects

News Engagement Day started last year with participants in 46 states, the District of Columbia and around the world. Engaging projects ranged from “news flash” mobs and trivia games, to news-themed streaming playlists and social media campaigns.

“We set a goal, and I thought a good way to set the goal would be for every state in the U.S. plus the District of Columbia to be involved with News Engagement Day,” Poindexter said. “I thought, even if it’s just one person, or one school, or one news organization, or three or four dozen – it didn’t matter. We wanted to have involvement in every state.”

Highlighted News Engagement Day projects are shared on a Pinterest board where organizations, schools, newsrooms or individuals interested in participating can find inspiration.

“What we wanted to do was kind of get people started with some ideas,” Poindexter said, though some newsrooms come up with completely different projects “because they’re looking into their own communities and seeing what works for them.”

Interested groups or individuals can go to the News Engagement Day website to learn more about the event and to sign a pledge of participation.

From the PIN Bureau, we hope you have a happy News Engagement Day! Stay tuned to see what we have planned, and use #NewsEngagementDay to join the conversation.

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