Creating Change through Civic Journalism



2018年夏天, GPK电子游戏平台 graduate student Britton Edwards was on what she calls “the edge of an exciting opportunity.”

She was working as managing editor for SaportaReport, an online news source popular with Atlanta’s civic, 政府和商界领袖. 但在长期从事市场营销工作之后, public relations and digital communications, Britton says she was looking for a change.

还有她现在的老板, 亚特兰大资深记者玛丽亚·萨波尔塔, 和比尔博林, founder of the Atlanta Community Food Bank, Britton helped create Atlanta Civic Circle, a nonprofit organization dedicated to civic journalism. The group wanted to build on the interest in civic engagement cultivated by SaportaReport to tackle important issues and effect change.

Atlanta Civic Circle registered as a nonprofit in fall 2018 – but shaping the organization and building a civic journalism site loomed as a monumental task. Nonprofit journalism is still in its infancy, so creating a successful model meant creating something from scratch. Also, at the time, the role she would play in the new endeavor was unclear. She wanted to be prepared for any responsibility she was given.

That seemed to be the perfect time to go back to school.

“I came across the Master of Arts in 社会创新 program at gpk电子游戏官网 and thought, 这是一种不同的、令人兴奋的东西,”布里顿回忆说. “The program aligns with my passion for giving back to the community and doing it in a business professional setting. So, 我注册, forecasting my own need to increase my knowledge of nonprofits and nonprofit management.”

Through GPK电子游戏平台’s Master of Arts program in 社会创新, students learn to take business principles and adapt them to solve complex, real-world challenges to create a more socially just world. Students gain the knowledge and skills to become leading social innovators and change-makers within various industries and fields. This degree prepares graduates to launch a social venture or to secure a management position within for-profit, 政府, 和非营利部门.

Britton defines a social innovator as someone who sees a social problem and wants to work with the community and leadership in the community to solve that problem. “A lot of times it comes in the form of something new and addresses a systemic problem within the system or it was something that was never tried before because it wasn’t available to meet the needs of the community,”她说.

When Atlanta Civic Circle launched in January 2021, 布里顿掌舵, leading the venture as its first director. 在她的角色, she oversees the creation of the nonprofit’s focus areas, identifies funding opportunities and works with the editorial team to make sure content is actionable and solutions-oriented. She also manages various partnerships with other publications and community organizations.

As she works her way through the master’s program at GPK电子游戏平台, Britton says she is learning valuable skills she can put to use right away.

“This program is helping me with the business side of running a nonprofit, as well as how to create and manage a board of directors in a nonprofit setting and how to raise funds,”她说. “基本上, it’s a 360-degree view of how to create a startup in the social nonprofit space, 这就是我正在做的吗.”

Civic journalism involves educating and informing readers on critical issues, helping to identify solutions and bring stakeholders to the table. 在推出, Atlanta Civic Circle had two focus areas, 或“公民的圈子,“民主和经济适用房.

“We want to bring everyone together to effect change, whether it’s policy awareness or educating the community through journalism,布里顿说. “I think a lot of people don’t know where to start, and sometimes it feels too big to start. If we can give people three ideas on how to make a small difference, then that can grow into something much bigger.”

尽管要监督一家新公司, attending classes at night and having a family, Britton is on track to finish her master’s degree at the end of 2021. She credits a strong support system – including husband Neil – for helping her manage it all. And although she’s learned valuable skills that will help her in her job and beyond, she also appreciates the connections she’s made.

“My favorite part of the program has been getting to know the other students in my cohort,布里顿说. “All of them are incredible people with big goals and energy. I feel like we are very supportive of each other in terms of the ventures we are working on and our goals.”

Her goal for Atlanta Civic Circle is continued growth and community engagement.

“一年以后, I’d love to see us covering two to four more focus areas with the input of our audience guiding that,”她说. “在我们目前的重点领域内, I would also like to see some signs of impact where we know we’ve made a difference.”