A look behind the headlines

Recognized by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation as one of the best non-profit newsrooms in the U.S. for digital engagement, The Lens is now going a step further with the Newsmaker Breakfasts. Over coffee and pastries, men and women in the headlines submit to interviews by Lens reporters and take questions from the audience.

The gatherings have proved to be fun, popular, educational — and an opportunity for community building as well.  Participants on and off the dais say they come away with deeper insights into the currents shaping our communities.

To date we have hosted five informative Newsmaker events: one with author/historian/civic activist John Barry, one with Councilwoman Kristin Gisleson Palmer, one with RSD Superintendent Patrick Dobard, one with Coroner-elect Dr. Jeffrey Rouse and the fourth with lawyer and community activist Keith Hardie.

Audience participation has been robust and the events are streamed in real time on our website and then made permanently available within our archive.

The post-event survey’s feedback has been gratifying and constructive:

Thank you and THE LENS for hosting informative events!

 The Moderator asked very Good Questions, however given the Speaker’s tendency towards convoluting his Answer — it would have Helped to have a Longer-than-15mins. for the Public’s Questions.

I really enjoyed the event and the discourse. Definitely a new dimension to be able to feel some people’s frustrations.

Breakfast topics run the gamut of our five coverage areas: government and politics, the environment, land use, schools, and criminal justice.  The events affirm our commitment not just to feed information to the New Orleans community but to interact with readers and attract an ever-widening audience.

They complement an outreach tool-kit that also includes “Offline with The Lens” (coffee shop meet ups), Lens “live-chat” forums, in which newsmakers field reader questions posed by phone or text message, and our annual anniversary celebration, a thank-you event for our readers and sponsoring members.

For more information about upcoming events or sponsorship opportunities, email Anne Mueller.