These guides are designed for people who work in journalism. We want to help you improve your strategy, skills, and understanding for effective community engagement. This is why it’s important.
The guides are a creation of The Coral Project, a part of Vox Media that was founded as a collaboration between Mozilla, The New York Times, and The Washington Post. We bring journalists and the communities they serve closer together.
As well as these guides, we have two open-source tools that help newsrooms engage more effectively.
- Ask – a form/gallery builder to collect, manage, and display user-generated contributions. Note: Ask is no longer in active development.
- Talk – a highly flexible discussion platform, designed for better dialog. It currently powers the comments and conversations of more than 50 news sites in 12 countries, including the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and the Intercept.
Our free software is currently in use in more than a dozen newsrooms. Want to learn more or just say hello? Drop us a line.
Everything on this website has a CC-BY 4.0 Creative Commons license except where noted – please re-use, translate, and share our content!
During the majority of the work on this site, The Coral Project was being generously supported by the Knight Foundation, Democracy Fund, the News Integrity Initiative, the Rita Allen Foundation, Craig Newmark Philanthropies, and Mozilla.
Guide authors (correct as of July 2016)
Everything on this site was written by Sydette Harry and Andrew Losowsky of The Coral Project, except where indicated. Some of the articles previously appeared on The Coral Project blog. The other authors are:
Alexandra Bowen, the Global Head of Social Media and Community Marketing for OutSystems. She helps companies embrace community as their core business driver and advocate for the needs, and excellence, of their communities. You can follow her on Twitter at @AlexandraABowen
Anika Gupta, a product manager and journalist based in Washington, DC. She focuses on audience engagement strategy and product development, and has helped build UGC products at National Geographic and internationally. She graduated in 2016 with a Master’s from MIT, where she studied online comments and community at news organizations. You can find her on Twitter @DigitalAnika.
Annemarie Dooling, Director of Programming at Racked.com, and the Knight Innovator in Residence 2017 at West Virginia University’s Reed College of Media. She formerly ran community at The Huffington Post.
Bassey Etim, @basseye, who runs the Community Desk at The New York Times. The Milwaukee native is also a published author and a musician who is currently working on strange music with his band Minus Pedro.
Bianca Laureano, the Foundress of The LatiNegrxs Project and the Women of Color Sexual Health Network. She is a certified sex educator and curriculum writer focusing on under-resourced communities especially QTPOC and immigrant youth. Bianca has been in the sexual and reproductive justice field for over twenty years. Find out more at www.BiancaLaureano.com and follow her on Twitter @LatinoSexuality.
Caroline Sinders, a user researcher, UX designer, and artist. She holds a masters from New York University’s Interactive Telecommunications Program where she focused on HCI, prototyping, and interactive storytelling, and a bachelor of fine arts from New York University’s Photography and Imaging Program, where she focused on digital culture, and the future of imaging. Her work focuses on the intersections of ethnography, machine learning, language, data, trauma, and online harassment. She is currently working as an online harassment researcher for Wikimedia.
Eric French, a UX Researcher based in New York City.
Francis Tseng, formerly a Knight-Mozilla OpenNews Fellow with The Coral Project. He is currently researcher-in-residence at New Inc, which publishes The New Inquiry.
Greg Barber, former head of strategy and partnerships at The Coral Project, and director of digital news products at The Washington Post.
J. Nathan Matias, who recently earned his PhD at the MIT Media Lab Center for Civic Media and is an affiliate at the Berkman-Klein Center at Harvard. He conducts independent, public interest research on flourishing, fair, and safe participation online.
jesikah maria ross, who produces participatory media projects that generate public dialogue and community change. Her work brings journalists and community stakeholders together, creating a path and a plan that changes how we collect, tell and share the stories of our communities. She is currently the Senior Community Engagement Strategist at Capital Public Radio.
Jessamyn West, a library technologist living and working in Central Vermont. She has previously written about moderation on Medium: Bad Comments are a System Failure and now writes Today in Librarian Tabs. She ran the online community MetaFilter for nearly ten years.
Marie Tessier, author of the forthcoming MIT Press book ‘Suffragist: Women, the Web, and the Future of Democracy.’ She moderates comments on the Opinion pages of NYTimes.com. She was a 2015-2016 Fellow of the Reynolds Journalism Institute at the University of Missouri. You are invited to join her on Facebook and Twitter @Suffr.
Martin Shelton, who was a Knight-Mozilla OpenNews Fellow with The Coral Project. He earned his PhD in Information and Computer Science at UC Irvine, specializing in journalism and computer security. He now works at Google.
Mary Chapman, a Detroit-area journalist, essayist and poet. A former reporter for UPI and Bloomberg BNA, Chapman chiefly contributes to The New York Times. She also writes for outlets such as the Chicago Tribune, Newsweek, Daily Beast, Time, People, Fortune, and Agence France-Presse.
Nicole Froio, a journalist and researcher currently based in the United Kingdom. Originally from Brazil, she writes about human rights, books, women’s rights, feminism and activism.
Pedro Burgos, a Brazilian Journalist with an M.A. in Social Journalism from CUNY Journalism School. He wrote a book in Portuguese about living a healthy life online, and worked at The Marshall Project as an Audience Intern.
Rob “CmdrTaco” Malda, the creator and user #1 of the popular News for Nerds site Slashdot.org. He spent many fruitful years there developing some of the first large scale community driven discussion systems, and crowd sourced news systems. After more than a decade he left and since logged some time working for the Washington Post Labs, and developing a news app known as Trove.
Sam Ford, a consultant, research affiliate with MIT Comparative Media Studies/Writing, and instructor in the Western Kentucky University Popular Culture Studies Program. You can find him on Twitter @Sam_Ford and learn more about his work on his website.
Steve McNally, who builds communities of creators and participants for publishers and brands. He’s worked with About.com, Condé Nast, True/Slant, Forbes, and Hearst helping talent find their audience, audiences discover new voices, and publishers and brands build their business by engaging with their customers and partners. Steve is currently working with creators who tell stories with Games. Find him on Twitter, @sjkmcnally.
Tara Adieshan, formerly a Knight-Mozilla OpenNews Fellow with The Coral Project. They are now a data visualization engineer on Emerging Products & Technologies at Autodesk.
Tiffany Walden, who writes about music and Black culture for a variety of publications, including Chicago Tribune, Chicago Reader and Blackdoctor.org. She is a former freelance writer for Ebony Magazine, breaking news reporter for Orlando Sentinel and government reporter for Abilene Reporter-News.
Thanks to Joy Mayer, Ben DeJarnette, Michelle Ferrier, Jessamyn West, Sasha Koren, and Taís de Souza Lessa for valuable feedback and suggestions.