Current partners with Hearken to launch Currently Curious

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Curiosity is a defining characteristic of people who listen to public radio and watch public television. And public media itself is full of very curious people. We crave news, think out loud, yearn to learn, and wonder about this and that. We seek new ideas, new information and new ways of seeing our world. We are an inquisitive bunch.

CurrentlyCurious_lrgLOGOCurrent is launching Currently Curious, a partnership with Hearken to tap this wellspring of curiosity and invite you to help set our editorial agenda.

We want to know: What do you want to know? What should we be covering? What burning questions do you have about public media?

All you have to do is ask. We’ll review your questions and assign some to our staff and freelance reporters. If we get a lot of good submissions, we may even put them up to a vote. May the best question win!

We’re calling this new project Currently Curious.

Why are we doing this? Perhaps that’s your first question. Current, like all media, is redefining our relationship to our audience. Engagement builds trust, loyalty and community. It promotes a culture of openness and transparency. It also creates opportunity for a diversity of people, voices and ideas to be heard.

Our editorial staff is gearing up to hear from you.

“We’ve always thought of Current as a meeting place for public broadcasters — where people from many disciplines across the diverse yet interdependent field turn for news and ideas that help them do their jobs better,” says Managing Editor Karen Everhart. “I see Currently Curious as a way to build on our purpose.”

“To me, journalism is all about serving readers,” adds Senior Editor Dru Sefton. “To do that, we need to know exactly what readers need, what questions they want us to answer for them. You can help us build a better Current just by posting a query.”

That’s the whole point of Hearken, a project with public media values in its DNA. Hearken evolved out of Curious City, a project created by independent producer Jennifer Brandel that won funding from Localore, the Association of Independents in Radio initiative to seed digital storytelling and engagement projects at public media stations. Brandel launched Curious City at WBEZ in Chicago, and the program’s popularity and model began to spread.

Those early signals of the potential in scaling the model prompted Brandel to again go independent and launch Hearken earlier this year. She found initial support from AIR, Matter and WBEZ to begin building and sharing the platform with stations and media organizations all over the world.

Like public media, Brandel says, Hearken’s core is in service, specifically in helping newsrooms serve and engage audiences directly. “Public media does such a tremendous job questioning and smartly reflecting back the world at large, so I’m really looking forward to seeing what’s in the mirror when it’s held up to itself,” she said. “In other words, I think there remains an infinite number of important and interesting questions to be asked about public media: from the historic to timely, from the specific to sweeping, and I can’t wait to see how Current’s fantastic team answers them.”

So, answer the call. Question us. Ask away. Current ­— and all of public media — will be better for it.

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