Colorado Engaged Elections

Fellowship 2023

📢 Colorado Newsrooms Join The Engaged Elections Fellowship Program

We’re thrilled to announce the group of Colorado newsrooms accepted into the Engaged Elections Fellowship program. This three-month program, aimed at fostering civic engagement, brings together 13 media outlets in Colorado committed to informing and empowering their communities during crucial election periods.

The following Colorado newsrooms have been selected:

  • KOTO Radio
  • KGNU
  • The Durango Herald
  • Pueblo Star Journal
  • The Sopris Sun
  • KUNC
  • Sentinel Colorado
  • The Colorado Sun
  • Glenwood Springs Post Independent
  • Colorado Newsline
  • Ark Valley Voice
  • Aspen Public Radio
  • Greeley Tribune

These newsrooms have demonstrated dedication to providing accurate, insightful, and impactful coverage of electoral processes and helping citizens make informed decisions about their communities’ future. Through the Engaged Elections Fellowship program, they will have the opportunity to collaborate, learn from industry experts, and share best practices for engaged journalism, ultimately raising the bar for election reporting and civic participation.

Together, they’ll make a difference in the way Coloradoans are empowered in their communities. 🗳️📰👏

Training will be guided by the engagement experts at Hearken and presented in partnership with COLab. Newsroom participation is made possible with support from Gates Family Foundation and travel support to attend the Colorado Press Association Convention is made possible by the Colorado Media Project. 

Why Colorado? 

Colorado is a uniquely important state, especially as it relates to American politics and news media. With the impending 2024 election, there’s a timely opportunity for Colorado newsrooms to explore how to move away from polarizing or horse-race coverage of elections and strengthen their strategies for focusing on issues that matter most to  Coloradans.

By the end of the program, each newsroom will emerge with: 

  • A mission statement for their political coverage that they will publish online and use as their north star for decision-making
  • A map of the communities they are aiming to reach and serve with their political coverage
  • A strategy for listening and responding to their communities + practicing at least once cycle of that feedback loop while in the program
  • A set of metrics they’ll use to determine the efficacy of their efforts
  • Inspiration from one another and from newsrooms who have gone down this same path
  • A shared language and set of values for centering the public in their decision making
  • A strategy session with peer journalists from the cohort, COLab and Colorado Public Radio about potential for collaborative coverage of the 2024 elections

Time Commitment:

  • The program will begin in late August and conclude in mid-November 2023
  • It consists of 6 workshops, 90 minutes each, held virtually every other week
  • There will be short team homework due between sessions (30-45 mins)
  • Each participating newsroom will also receive 1:1 coaching


    • There will be one in-person workshop held during the Colorado Press Association Convention in Denver on Friday, September 22, 2023

    • Sessions are held virtually via Zoom. Workshops integrate a mix of content delivery by way of co-facilitator or guest speaker presentation, whole-group discussion and activity, and small-group discussion via breakout groups within the virtual space.

    Here’s what past Engaged Elections participants had to say

    “This training provided WSHU with the needed framework to really understand the work that we need to do, how we want to accomplish the work and a way to communicate the change and importance of this work to our different stakeholders. It was the hand holding we needed.”

     – Rima Dael, General Manager WSHU

    “The Engaged Elections Training really gave our organization the space to think through our elections coverage in a thoughtful and nuanced way. I look forward to seeing our plan come to fruition!” 

    – Kate Weibezahl, Senior Coordinator, PBS SoCal


    “The Engaged Elections training is a worthwhile investment to guide a newsroom in being more open and engaged with readers, viewers or listeners. Especially at a time when trust is being questioned and many Americans are disinterested in the news.” 

    – Rhonda Prast, AME/Investigations and Audience, Las Vegas Review-Journal

    It’s important to continue to be agile in a changing environment. Exploring ways to improve election coverage is absolutely imperative– it’s not 2014 anymore. The pace  of the training was  solid and the info presented was easy to follow and digest. It’s been great to have so much support from the group.”

    – Tim Lambert, Editor, WITF

    Fellowship Training Partners & Supporters:

    Hearken is a social impact consultancy that uses the power of engagement to impact and influence systems for the public good. We help institutions and entire sectors reimagine and democratize their practices in ways that improve systems, and that allow entire communities to thrive.

    COLab strengthens local journalism through the power of collaboration. With more than 180 newsrooms in the Colorado News Collaborative, COLab is a local media resource hub and ideas lab that supports civic engagement, and ensures public accountability so all Coloradoans can get access to the news they need.

    Gates Family Foundation is a founding member of the Colorado Media Project (CMP), which funds, catalyzes and advocates for a healthier local news and information ecosystem for all Coloradans. Gates’ support for local journalism prioritizes projects that help inform and engage all Coloradans to participate in a vibrant public square, with an emphasis on communities of color and underserved rural areas.

    Have additional questions about Hearken?