A Word in the Mayor’s Ear, Thanks to CUNY Students

January 24, 2014 | CUNY Graduate School of Journalism

Ever wish you could give a piece of your mind to an important elected official? That’s exactly the chance a team of CUNY Graduate School of Journalism students gave New Yorkers in the run-up to the inauguration of the city’s new mayor, Bill de Blasio.

Students partnered with public watchdog website Gotham Gazette to offer what they dubbed a “A Minute with the Mayor,” encouraging policy-savvy users to sound off on everything from budget issues and police-community relations to universal pre-k and the role of his wife in the administration.

Their feature not only garnered numerous thoughtful responses during several weeks in December, but also ended up being Gotham Gazette’s most popular story of the month.

Ten J-School students collaborated to craft the crowdsourcing effort as part of their first-semester Fundamentals of Multimedia Storytelling-Interactive course. They then shared the project widely via a coordinated social media campaign, before ultimately collecting a range of responses into a roundup report.

“The Minute With The Mayor” project was a huge success in helping us to engage our readers in a new way, and that was due in no small part to the talented students at CUNY’s J-School,” said Gotham Gazette Editor Cristian Salazar. “Over the past year, we’ve had the opportunity to work with some top-notch students there and this project takes that working relationship to a whole new level.”

Explained Prof. A. Adam Glenn, from whose course the participating students were drawn: “We make sure all of our students at the J-School get grounded in the notion of engaging interactively with online communities. This group of students just took it a step further and turned their interest in crowdsourcing into a reality. They did an excellent job done for a professional news partner and should be proud.”

“Crowdsourcing like this is an important new way to gather the news and take part in the public debate,” Glenn said. “We certainly hope the mayor was listening.”