Civil Beat is going on the road.

For the next couple of months editors, reporters, photographers and multimedia producers plan to spend at least one day a week working out of a public library somewhere in Hawaii. We’re working with the Hawaii State Public Library System and individual librarians throughout the state to pull this off.

We’re calling this concept “pop-up newsrooms” and it’s aimed at getting our journalists out into parts of the state that we normally don’t spend much time in.

The purpose is twofold. First, we’d really like you to know more about how we work and why we make the news decisions we do. We are simply going to be working from the library and we’d love to show you what we do.

Want to see how we moderate comments and why we sometimes block some? Come look over our shoulder. What kind of headline should we put on a story? Join the discussion around the table.

The second thing is to find out more about issues that are important to specific communities. We regularly invite people to our newsroom in Kaimuki or a venue close by to talk about Civil Beat and what readers think we should be covering.

But most people, especially in the farther-flung neighborhoods on Oahu and definitely on the neighbor islands, just don’t have the time or the capacity to come to us. So we are coming to you.

We’ll be adding new libraries and new dates so check our events page for a pop-up newsroom near you. 


Now, all that said, I’m not really sure how this is all going to work. This is just the beginning of a grand experiment.

It sounds easy enough but I’m sure it will evolve as we get out into the communities and see how it plays out. We hope that you will help us build a solid foundation for this program because we’d like it to grow into a regular part of our newsgathering and community-building efforts throughout the state.

Part of that includes you telling us what you’d like us to do. We plan to be in the library pretty much the full day, certainly the hours that it is open. That means we should have plenty of time to put on a workshop or lead a discussion that you might find helpful. As journalists, we have a lot of skills to share and talented staff who can help with many different things.

Want to learn how to take better pictures? Our photographers can give a workshop on that.

How about start your own podcast or produce an audio journal? We’ve learned a thing or two about that.

We are experts in getting your message out and what works and what doesn’t. We’re happy to hold a training in the best way to deal with media.

Or if you’d just like a robust discussion on news literacy or issues facing the media and the public today, we’d love to talk. The press is such a vital component of every community, we’d like you to understand us as much as we’d like to understand you.

A special shout-out to educators: Many libraries are aligned with schools and our journalists would be happy to help with any class projects that might be a good fit. We’d love to brainstorm.

So, let us or your local librarian know if there is anything specific you’d like to see. It can be structured or casual, but planning and advance notice is always a good thing.

Here’s an idea for starters: There’s still three weeks left until the Nov. 8 general election. We’d love to hear more about what issues you think still need to be explored before this year’s vote and beyond. What can Civil Beat be doing better to shine a light on the very real concerns a particular neighborhood might be having?

We’re kicking off this undertaking on Monday at the Kahuku Public and School Library. If you live anywhere near that area come join us. We’ll be there from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Please be mindful of the other patrons who may be in the library, which is sharing its space with us, not giving it over completely. So please use good library manners!

Check the map above for a pop-up newsroom near you. We’ll publish links to the schedule on our homepage as we go and short reminders as the time comes. Please post in the comments below or drop me an email or text about what other libraries you’d like to see on the list.

This project is supported by the American Press Institute.

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